JACKSONVILLE, FL — Few names mean more to Orlando City fans that of Dennis Chin, a Jamaican forward who’s spent more of his life in Orlando, graduated from Rollins College in Winter Park, and played in all four of Orlando City’s USL campaigns on the club’s route to Major League Soccer. Along the way, "Chinny" scored 21 goals across 84 matches.
Now with the Ottawa Fury of the NASL, Chin is on the hunt for a new home in his post-Lions days.
One of the casualties of the club’s roster purge following the 2014 USL season, Chin was on the hunt for a new club, eventually signing with Arizona United SC shortly before the start of the 2015 USL season.
Chin says he did tangle with the idea of giving in to tempting offers overseas, but ultimately decided that staying in the United States was the right move at the time.
"A lot of the time, when you go overseas you think it's all brilliant going to Europe, but then you realize that it's not always the best for you," Chin said after playing the final 10 minutes of Ottawa’s 2-0 win over the Jacksonville Armada on Saturday. "Their styles of play are different, and a lot of the time it comes down to the money -- can you afford to go out there? The taxes are different. You have to move your family. So it became easier to just keep it simple and stick here."
After a year in Arizona, Chin took his talents north of the border and up another notch, to the NASL, landing a deal with Ottawa.
His time in Orlando was very rewarding, but Chin says his latest chapter has also been a fun, learning experience as he searches for his new home.
"You're just trying to find the best place for you, how you play," he said. "I kind of grew up in that Orlando City system. It's been tough, but it's been good as well. I need the experience, it's good to go out and see what else is new."
And yes, he still does follow what’s happening back home in Orlando. He’s very good friends with Kevin Molino, and talks to him often.
"He's like my brother," Chin said. "So it's good to see him [playing well]. We talk often, and now there's so much influx at the club that hopefully he can keep his mind straight and still achieve his goals."
Chin also had a very good relationship with former Orlando City head coach Adrian Heath, who he called a "second father to me," and doesn’t expect him to have any trouble finding a new coaching gig.
"I thought it was unfortunate -- it's football," he said about Heath’s recent dismissal. "Sometimes you give it all to a club and it's just not meant to be, and you have to move on. Obviously, for both parties it was tough. And for Adrian, he's such a talented coach and knows so much about football that he'll have an easy time finding a new place."
Regardless of where he goes next, Chin knows what he wants his future to look like.
"Hopefully just playing top-level football again, scoring goals again, and playing well and winning again," he said. "What I'm chasing right now is another championship."