Orlando City has finally made the long-awaited move of promoting Niki Budalic. The former assistant GM is now the general manager of all three of the club’s professional teams – Orlando City, Orlando Pride, and Orlando City B.
Budalic, 38, who joined the club as assistant general manager in late January, worked with President and Founder Phil Rawlins throughout the year to identify, assess, and recruit talent for the club, traveling all over the world. Rawlins served as the team’s general manager after Chief Soccer Officer Armando Carneiro left the club for personal reasons. That came shortly after former GM Paul McDonough left Orlando City and took the same role with expansion Atlanta United.
“I want to congratulate Niki on this well-deserved promotion,” Rawlins said in a club press release. “I’ve known Niki for many years, and I am confident in his work ethic, player scouting intelligence and negotiating experience, as he leads soccer operations during an important year for us in our new home stadium.”
“I am thankful for this opportunity to work closer with our technical teams on player development and general team management,” Budalic added in the club’s statement. “I’ve learned a lot from Phil this past year, and will continue working hard with our coaches this offseason to prepare for a new campaign, a new stadium and a fresh start in 2017.”
Before joining Orlando City, Budalic served as director of soccer operations for Premier Development League side Kitchener-Waterloo United FC, which won the 2015 National Championship. Prior to working with Kitchener-Waterloo, Budalic played professionally in North America and Europe at clubs such as FK Haugesund in Norway and the Montreal Impact.