A former Bruin coach has moved on to her next opportunity just four days after parting ways with UCLA.
Now-former UCLA women’s soccer coach Amanda Cromwell announced her departure from the school to explore new ventures within the coaching world Friday. As was initially reported by The Equalizer on Nov. 29, Cromwell has signed on to become the next head coach of the Orlando Pride, the National Women's Soccer League club announced Tuesday morning.
Orlando had previously lost their head coach after Marc Skinner resigned from the role to take the top coaching job for Manchester United Women in July. The team underwent a coaching search and ultimately decided Cromwell was the choice to take over back where her career began – the Sunshine State.
The first team Cromwell ever played for professionally was the now-defunct Orlando Lions of the USISL Premier League in 1997. Several years later, Cromwell would become the head coach of UCF women’s soccer, also in Orlando, and held that position from 1999 to 2012 before leaving for UCLA.
In her opening remarks as the leader of the Pride, the 2013 NCAA Championship-winning coach gave a farewell message to the Bruin players and community back in Westwood, where she finished with a 149-29-20 overall record.
“I am thankful for the nine fantastic years I have spent as the head coach at UCLA,” Cromwell said in a statement. “(I was) supported by my players on the field, coaches by my side, and an administration dedicated to competitive excellence. I have a heavy heart leaving the players and coaches, but I know the future is bright.”
Cromwell will meet up with another former Bruin in Orlando as well. In January, former All-Pac-12 Second Team midfielder Viviana Villacorta was selected No. 9 overall in the first round of the NWSL Draft by the Pride.
An ACL tear during UCLA’s 2020-2021 season opener put an end to Villacorta’s collegiate career, but now Villacorta will take instruction from her old coach again as she returns to full health.
While the Pride still have Ian Fleming as their general manager and director of soccer operations, Cromwell’s first actions as coach will be during the NWSL Expansion Draft and NWSL Draft on Dec. 16 and Dec. 18, respectively.
Angel City FC is one of two expansion franchises joining the NWSL this upcoming season, and Cromwell was one of the founding members of the ownership team. To become coach of the Pride, Cromwell will divest the investment stake she had previously held in the new club.
Schedules have not been released for the 2022 NWSL campaign, so Bruin fans will have to wait and see when the storied coach begins her professional career or returns to Los Angeles.
UCLA, meanwhile, has begun a national search for a new women’s soccer coach spearheaded by Associate Athletic Director of Compliance Erin Adkins, but there are no recent developments or candidates as of Tuesday.