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Leading the Way

Seb Hines is originally from London, but is quite familiar with the Orlando area. Having previously been a player for Orlando City, he followed his playing career by joining the front office of the Pride, working as a scout and in player development. In 2020, he became an assistant coach with the team before being named the Pride’s head coach in 2022—a historic hire that made him the first Black head coach in the NWSL.

We spoke to Hines about his strong connection the area and the game as well as his visions for the future of the sport.

You have the unique experience of having been a player for Orlando City and then working your way up to become the head coach of the Pride. What has that transition been like for you?

Transitioning into coaching was a natural progression for me. It was just a case of taking the knowledge and experiences I gained on the field and translating them. As a player, I had the privilege of experiencing the highs and the challenges of football firsthand, and I feel like those experiences have given me invaluable insights into the game from a player’s perspective. Obviously the nature of my involvement has changed, but the underlying passion is still the same. I still get that rush of excitement when I step onto the pitch, even if it’s now from the sideline.

You’re from England originally, but have spent a good amount of time living here in Orlando now, so what do you enjoy most about this area?

Living in Orlando has been an incredible experience, both personally and professionally. One of my favorite aspects of Orlando is the city’s diversity and strong sense of community. Coming from England, I understand the global appeal of football and its ability to bring people from all walks of life together, but what I’ve found particularly encouraging about Orlando is the level of community support for soccer initiatives. From youth academies to grassroots programs, there’s a genuine commitment to making the sport accessible. Also, the weather.

You’ve gotten to witness the fan base as both a player and now a coach; what do you think about the fans in this area and their love for the game of soccer?

Having experienced the fans’ support both as a player and now as a coach, I can say that they have been an integral part of our journey. Their love for the game and the passion they bring on matchdays is nothing short of electrifying, and that kind of support acts as a 12th player on the field—it motivates the team to give their absolute best and leave everything we have out there. … As a coach, I am beyond grateful for the fans’ support because it goes beyond the pitch—it shapes the culture of our club, builds a community and reinforces the values we stand for.

You had four of your players take part in the World Cup, and the Pride is no stranger to having players represent their countries on the world stage. How exciting is that for you to watch your players compete on that level?

Whenever I see any of our team’s players represented on the world stage it’s amazing—it’s truly a testament to their hard work and dedication. When players get recognized by their respective national teams, it’s also a validation of the hard work put in by everyone at the club. The potential of being able to contribute to a player’s national team journey is a privilege that I hold dear. The way I see it, the coaching staff’s role extends beyond our team; we’re also helping to shape the development of players who will inspire generations to come, and that’s really an honor.

As the sport of women’s soccer continues to grow, what are your hopes or visions for the future of the Orlando Pride?

I’m incredibly optimistic about the future of women’s football. Seeing the enthusiasm and support surrounding the Women’s World Cup was exciting and underscored the continued momentum women’s football is gaining worldwide. In terms of the Pride, I see a future where our team’s success translates into increased support, recognition and opportunities for our players. As a coaching staff, it’s our responsibility to help each player reach their full potential. We’re building an environment that prioritizes talent development and supports our athletes in becoming world-class players. Beyond the competitive aspect, I hope our team can serve as a positive influence within our community and inspire the next generation of local athletes. With the players’ commitment and the club’s continued dedication, I truly believe our team can make a meaningful and lasting impact that extends far beyond the soccer field.