Former Lion will become Orlando City Soccer Club's new head coach


  • Photo via Mark Thor/Orlando City SC
After parting ways with Jason Kreis two weeks ago, Orlando City Soccer Club has a new head coach lined up, to whom they're saying "welcome home."

James O'Connor, head coach at Louisville City FC and former Lion, has filled Orlando City's vacant coaching position, according to a statement from the club.

In a statement, the club's general manager Niki Budalic said, "James was our top target going into the coaching search. He has proven himself a consistent winner as both a player and coach at the USL level, and now is extremely eager to prove himself in MLS. James is very aware of the winning culture we have built in Orlando and what it will take to uphold that tradition in both the short and long-term. We couldn’t be more excited for him to get started."

The Ireland native used to play for Orlando City from 2012 to 2014, his first American team experience. O'Connor's return to Orlando marks his first appearance in the city since its USL Pro days.

O'Connor participated in the 2017 USL Championship with Louisville City. He led the club through 58 goals last season. According to a release by the football club, O'Connor said while it was a difficult decision to make with his family on short notice, he couldn't pass up "the opportunity to coach in Major League Soccer."

O'Connor will be bringing assistant coach Daniel Byrd along with him. When Kreis left Orlando City in the midst of a long losing streak, assistant coaches CJ Brown and Miles Joseph also dropped out.

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