clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Getting to Know the Gaffer: Adrian Heath

New, 4 comments

Orlando City SC may have high profile names like Kaka and Brek Shea, but the club's biggest asset might just be the manager. Adrian Heath is the perfect fit to lead the Lions into MLS.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Adrian Heath, who celebrated his 54th birthday on Sunday, has been one of the most successful coaches in America in recent years, and will be making his MLS coaching debut in March.

Appointed as Orlando City SC's head coach the same year as the club's conception, the Englishman has quite literally been the only man for the job. Having been with the club for all four of its campaigns, Heath will make an almost seamless transition going into his fifth year at the helm.

In 2013 he rebuffed the affection of multiple MLS sides, deciding instead to remain with Orlando and build on the foundation of success he's cultivated over the years.

"There were a few opportunities along the way to move but I've always been about the big picture, how much work and how much time and effort we've put in to get to this stage ... The club has fulfilled everything that we wanted to do to get where we are and it just makes sense for me now to sign a new deal and hopefully build from here and hit the ground running in MLS."

Loyalty isn't the only attribute that makes Heath such a fan favorite. He has brought an unprecedented level of success to the club. Very few coaches in any league has had a track record like Heath's stint with Orlando. Since 2011, he has brought home three regular season titles and two playoff championships to the Lions' faithful. Oh, let's not forget about the two Coach of the Year Awards (2011, 2012).

Heath has worked alongside Orlando City Founder and President Phil Rawlins since the very beginning and his handiwork and passion for the club make up for his lack of MLS experience. While he has never managed in Major League Soccer, he has been involved in USL Pro and multiple levels of English football. He has, however, (successfully) played against MLS sides on numerous occasions in the U.S. Open Cup.

Still not convinced? Well, the man seems to be doing his homework on the other teams in the league according to an SI interview.

"I watch every game in the MLS. I've put my work in and bided my time and built my apprenticeship and now I think it's time to move to the next level, certainly as a club but in my own mind as well."

At the end of last year, Heath was rewarded with a contract extension through 2017, so expect to see the 54-year-old calling the shots for quite some time. With over a 67% winning percentage in charge of the Lions, it's safe to say that wouldn't be a bad thing.