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Orlando Pride nearly at full strength during second week of preseason training

Chioma Ubogagu (left) and Marta train with the Orlando Pride at the Seminole Soccer Complex in Sanford, Fla. (Jordan Culver-Pro Soccer USA)

Getting back into the swing of training with the Orlando Pride after missing some time isn’t too hard for the team’s various national team players.

As Australian women’s national team member and Pride midfielder Emily van Egmond puts it, “We’re kind of used to that.”

Van Egmond, Alanna Kennedy, Chioma Ubogagu, Marta, Ashlyn Harris and Shelina Zadorsky are all back with the team after missing the start of preseason training. They were all playing for their respective national teams while they were away and were training with the team Wednesday morning.

Star forward Alex Morgan wasn’t present for the media portion of training Wednesday morning, but she is expected to return this week.

Brazilian midfielder Camila hasn’t returned from Brazil yet, though she’s also expected to return soon. Brazilian centerback Monica – who in February announced she was leaving the Pride – has been training with the team, but only to stay fit, according to a club spokeswoman.

The Pride are working with a mostly-new coaching staff, and van Egmond said she’s excited for what they bring to the table. Marc Skinner was named head coach in January, and Skinner brought assistant coach Carl Green on in February. Lloyd Yaxley is still the team’s goalkeepers coach.

“I haven’t seen too much, to be honest, because I’ve just flown in,” van Egmond said with a laugh. “But, from what the girls have said, it’s all really positive and they’re all super-excited. I’m just as excited as they are to learn to get to know him and hopefully have a really successful year this year.”

Zadorsky said she kept in contact with her Pride teammates while she was with Canada’s women’s national team.

“I think the buzz around the new coaching staff and just some fresh energy was really exciting,” she said. “It was nice to connect with both Marc and Carl while I was away and then, yeah, I just asked the girls how things were going.

“I love [former Pride coach] Tom [Sermanni], always will, but I think we’re moving in a positive direction. Just the energy this coaching staff brings on the field and all the prep-work that they do, I think having those pre-training meetings and getting out there and having effective sessions, really high energy, which is great. I think it’s great that they get on us and they want us to learn their style. It’s been fun.”

The Pride kick off their regular season with a home match against the Portland Thorns on April 14. The 2019 Women’s World Cup begins June 7 in France.

Orlando has a preseason match against the North Carolina Courage on March 23. 

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