Orlando City filled two important roles within the club on Friday, announcing the hire of Bobby Murphy as an assistant coach on the MLS team, as well as the new technical coordinator of the club's youth academy.
Murphy will serve on Head Coach Adrian Heath's coaching staff, filling the vacant role that opened after the club decided to part ways with long-time player/coach Ian Fuller last month. He'll also take over as the head of the club's youth academy, another role that was vacated this winter when Darren Powell left to become head coach of the newly formed San Antonio soccer club in USL.
"I am pleased to say that we have been able to agree to terms with Bobby Murphy to join the MLS coaching team and our Academy," said Founder and President Phil Rawlins in a statement. "Bobby has been the driving force behind the St. Stephens Academy, where he has been head of development for the past 13 years. He has an exemplary record of developing young talent and we are looking forward to him working with our younger players and bridging our academy and first-team programs."
Youth and technical coaching experience is one thing that Murphy does not lack, by far. Prior to joining Orlando City, he spent nearly 13 years (2003-2016) as the director of the soccer academy at St. Stephen's Episcopal School -- one of only four residential soccer academies in the entire country. Prior to that, he served as the director of coaching for the South Texas Youth Soccer Association.
Murphy has both his USSF ‘A" and "National Youth" Licenses, and is a member of the U.S. Soccer Federation National Staff, a U.S. Youth Soccer National Instructor and a South Region (III) Olympic Development Program (ODP) staff coach.
It doesn't seem like Orlando City could have found a better man for the job of running the academy.
With no MLS experience, it's easy to question why Murphy was also brought in as Fuller's replacement, but with a high pedigree of technical and development knowledge, Murphy will bring plenty to the Lions' coaching staff in 2016 and beyond.
Tim Holt Leaving Orlando City
Elsewhere around the club, USL San Antonio made yet another big announcement involving Orlando City today, naming Lions' Vice President of Development Tim Holt as the club's managing director. Details on what his role with the expansion club will be are scarce at the moment, as he leaves Orlando City after only eight months on the job. Although Orlando City did not announce Holt's departure, the San Antonio franchise announced it this morning.
Holt joined Orlando City back in May after stepping down as commissioner of the USL, with the goal of overseeing various initiatives designed to further expand the brand of Orlando City, both in the state of Florida and beyond.
With the help of Holt, Orlando City launched its USL team, Orlando City B, as well as NWSL expansion franchise Orlando Pride -- both will kick off their first seasons in just a few months time.
While the move caught many fans off guard and continues the trend of major shake-ups in the Orlando City front office, it's not surprising that Holt would take this jump back into the USL fold. His main contribution in Orlando was to help the club grow its brand, which it did by setting up two new franchises, and now he'll head to San Antonio and a league he knows very well, to help another club get its feet off the ground in the soccer world.