Harrison Heath's tenure with Orlando City SC has been mired in a bit of controversy. When you're the son of the coach, that tends to happen, especially if you're the one picked out of 20-something others who were vying for that same spot.
When it was announced that the younger Heath was receiving an MLS contract, and other veteran Lions like Rob Valentino and Miguel Gallardo were being released, fans and media were a bit confused and upset. Heath had only played half a season with Orlando in USL Pro and, in many peoples' eyes, had not earned a spot with the MLS side.
Heath has not only heard the doubters, but he intends to prove them wrong in every way.
"I think there's obviously a lot of added pressure on me because he is my dad," Heath said on Media Day. "There's some people around that think that the only reason I'm here is because of that. Now I have to prove to those people that doubt that, that I'm here for my own reason and because I'm good enough. Hopefully I can achieve that."
Like many of the young players on the team, Harrison is a project player. He has a lot of potential and upside to his game, which he displayed not only last year, but with the Norwich City and Houston Dynamo youth programs. In the seven games he played in for the Lions last year, he held down the midfield very capably, but at the same time, did show some youth and made some errors that can easily be worked on and improved in training.
There's also the fact that the Gaffer, Adrian Heath, has pretty much been scouting his son ever since he laced up a pair of cleats. So, if anyone were to have a good judge of Harrison's talent and possible upside, it would be the man who has watched him play soccer since he was just a little boy.
"I think there's a pressure on us young guys, because the club has given us a chance and there's not many places that you can go where that happens," the younger Heath said. "Especially in your first season in the MLS, so it's exciting for us young guys and we have to step up now and take everything on board and try and do the best we possibly can."
While it's not 100% sure if Harrison will start the season in Louisville or in Orlando, there is one thing that can be sure. He will soon have the opportunity to prove his doubters wrong and make a name for himself, not just as Adrian Heath's son, but as a bona fide MLS player in his own right.
P.S.- Heath received a recommendation from none other than Orlando City legend, Dom Dwyer (see below)
Shoutout to my man @harrisonheathy1 this kid is going to be a superstar! #Follow— Dom Dwyer (@Ddwyer14) January 26, 2015