Former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue had a saying that the 2018-19 season would be about “wins and lessons” rather than wins and losses. Orlando Pride defender Erin Greening is making sure that she learns as much as she can from the lessons during her rookie year, playing alongside the likes of Marta and Alex Morgan. Erin said, “The lesson I’ve learned is to find positive takeaways out of every situation. Every game is a learning experience and there are opportunities to take away good and bad things that have helped develop me as a player. I am fortunate to play with a group of experienced players who share their knowledge of the game and how to deal with adversity. They have been great role models.”
When I asked what the biggest adjustment from the college game to the NWSL is, she responded, “Some of the biggest changes from college would be the speed of play and the completion. It’s also a lot different playing with older and more experienced players, The age gap was definitely one of the biggest adjustments.”
She’s handled those necessary adjustments well. In 17 appearances, Greening has played over 1,400 minutes on the backline for Orlando, including 16 starts. She’s tallied 43 interceptions, nine key passes, and one goal (a blast that you can see in the video below) during the 2019 NWSL season. The right-back gives a lot of credit to her previous experience playing in front of the defense for her success. “Having played as both a midfielder and forward gives me a different perspective on the position,” Erin explained. “I understand roles and can anticipate build-ups and runs from opponents better. I am also comfortable pushing up and when required, switch roles with my teammates on the counterattack.”
Not only does her past experience in different places on the field help, but her college studies play a small part as well. She majored in Specific Communication with a focus on advertising and anthropology. “I chose advertising as my major because I am interested in learning about people, the buying process and how advertising influences purchase decisions. Choosing advertising was also natural because I enjoy working with people creatively, working in a team environment and have a passion for graphic design. Anthropology does help a little bit with interacting with my teammates but mostly I enjoy studying about human evolution and different cultures,” she said.
The different culture she finds herself learning now is Orlando, Florida. Erin said, “Orlando’s been awesome! Although it can get very hot it’s a very fun place to live!” Her two favorite restaurants in the area are Prato and Briarpatch. She adds, “I have not been to Disney World yet but it’s definitely on my list!”
But, despite playing on the other side of the country, Erin doesn’t forget where she comes from. Growing up near Oakland, California, she still has love for Bay Area hip-hop. Who is her favorite artist from back home? “This is a hard question for me! There are too many to choose from but if I’d have to pick, I would say Kehlani at the moment, but my all-time favorites would be Mac Dre, E-40 and Andre Nickatina,” she responded. When I asked her favorite song by legendary rapper Too Short, she said, “I know I am going to sound very basic, but my favorite Too Short song is Blow The Whistle. Still on my pregame playlist!”
The next time this youngster will be getting hyphy pre-game will be tomorrow when the Pride play their second-to-last match of the season, the only NWSL match of the weekend. Erin Greening and Co. will be hosting Washington Spirit at Exploria Stadium with kick-off set for 5 PM Eastern Time. You can watch live on Yahoo Sports.