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Friday, September 24, 2021

She’s back: Becky Burleigh out of retirement and into Orlando

Former Gators coach to become interim Orlando Pride manager

Former longtime Florida head coach Becki Burleigh is expected to take a coaching job with the NWSL's Orlando Pride in her first work beyond the Florida Gators.
Former longtime Florida head coach Becki Burleigh is expected to take a coaching job with the NWSL's Orlando Pride in her first work beyond the Florida Gators.

Former Florida Gators soccer coach Becky Burleigh is going to the professional ranks of the National Women Soccer League.

The retired Burleigh is the front-runner to become the interim head coach for the Orlando Pride, the Athletic’s Meg Linehan reported Friday afternoon.

The Pride and former coach Marc Skinner parted ways Friday, as Skinner took his coaching skills across the pond to lead the Manchester United women’s team.

Luckily for Orlando, they don’t have to look very far to find a legendary local Floridian to be a short-term replacement.

Burleigh is known for planting the seeds of Florida Gators soccer and watching the tree grow for 26 years as its one and only head coach. Under her leadership, the Gators won the 1998 College Cup after winning the ‘96 and ‘97 SEC Championships. Burleigh totaled a 513-160-46 career record as head coach

Burleigh announced back in January the 2021 season would be her swan song, and the Gators finished the season with a 6-8-3 record and a second-round SEC Tournament exit.

Burleigh had ruled out coaching at the professional level back when she announced her retirement but said she has always been “fascinated with high-level performance.”

Orlando boasts some of that high-level performance talent, including U.S. Olympians Alex Morgan and Ali Krieger.

The Orlando Pride get a fresh start with a new coach, as they currently hold a 4-3-4 record. Orlando takes on the OL Reign Saturday at 7 p.m. in Burleigh’s potential first game as coach.

Contact Jesse Richardson at jrichardson@alligator.org. Follow him on Twitter @JesseRich352.

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