The Orlando Pride have played in front of record-low crowds twice this season.
Though five home matches, the Pride are averaging 5,103 fans per game, a drop from the 6,186 fans per game that came out last season.
Goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris isn’t sure why the fans aren’t coming out to support the Pride, but for her, it’s disheartening to walk out of the tunnel at Orlando City Stadium and see empty seats.
“We have a winning record,” she said when asked about the secret to getting fans in the stands. “We have creative players. We play a good brand of football. Something this city should be proud of. We’re doing our job, you know? As far as getting people in the stands, we need to be asking the questions [about] why the people aren’t showing up.
“Our job is to step on the field and have a good result and a good performance and we’re doing that.”
With a shrug, she added, “So… good question. I wonder the same thing.”
The Pride play at Orlando City Stadium on Wednesday against the Houston Dash. Orlando played Houston at home earlier in the season and a then-record low 3,890 fans came to the match.
The current record low for the Pride at Orlando City Stadium is the announced crowd of 3,104 that came out for the May 23 match against the first-place North Carolina Courage.
“There’s nothing worse than being in the tunnel, being all hyped up and walking out to a dead crowd,” Harris said. “They’re supposed to be your 12th man. I think so many people said, ‘Oh, it’s so great to bring soccer to this city, but the greatest gift you can give someone is showing up.
“I think the city needs to start showing up. When things don’t pan out and work out and they’re like, ‘Oh, we’d hate to hear the women’s team is no longer.’ This is your chance. If you want to be able to see games in your backyard and have your kids have good role models to look up to … you know you have two of the greats out on the field, you know? You have a lot of international talent. Your job is to show up.
“That’s something this city has to do. I know they show up for the men’s team and they’re supporting the men’s team and that’s great, but it’s time to show some support for the women’s team. We’re second place right now, we had a playoff run last year, we’re doing all the right things. That’s my biggest, I guess upsetting factor here is the fact that people aren’t showing up.”
Harris weighed her words before continuing.
“We say so much that this city is a soccer city and there’s all this buzz, but you got to really … you have to really … you know what I’m trying to say. I don’t want to be harsh or mean, but let’s see some action and not just words.
“We’re kicking butt and we deserve it. There’s a lot of incredible women here and we sacrifice a lot to do this every day and it would be great to have some support here in the city. Bring your kids out, it’s such a great environment. I think that’s just the missing piece right now.”