After weeks of speculation, Orlando City SC has officially hired former FC Dallas VP of soccer operations Luiz Muzzi as the club’s executive vice president of soccer operations. Muzzi will fill the void previously held by Niki Budalic, after the Canadian was let go a few weeks ago. News of Muzzi was first reported by ESPN FC’s Jeff Carlisle.
“Luiz is a great addition for us and we welcome him to the club,” Orlando City SC CEO Alex Leitão said. “He brings a wealth of American soccer knowledge with strong connections in South America to take us to the next level. With this move, Luiz will have full autonomy as the head of soccer operations to make decisions not only related to player scouting and management, but also to build culture and mentality fitting for his vision of our club.”
The 49-year-old Brazilian has worked closely with South American clubs for nearly two decades, working as the director of soccer for Traffic Sports USA in Miami from 2003-2012. While there, he oversaw player strategy and worked with clubs like Estoril Praia in Portugal and Brazilian outfit Desportivo Brasil. Muzzi also has a history of working as a general manager, occupying that role for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers (named Miami FC at the time) from 2005-2010 in conjunction with his responsibilities with Traffic.
“I want to thank FC Dallas for a great tenure with a good group of people who worked by my side for six seasons,” said Muzzi. “Looking forward, I am very excited for the opportunity Orlando City SC has given me to come to one of the most dynamic and exciting clubs in the league with a fantastic stadium and fan base. The opportunity for the growth of soccer in Orlando is only beginning, and I look forward to leading this group in 2019 and beyond.”
The Brazilian speaks five languages — English, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian and French. He has brought South American talent such as Mauro Diaz, Michael Barrios, and Carlos Gruezo into the league, and will start immediately on Orlando City’s off-season needs. Muzzi now has the task of assisting Head Coach James O’Connor in reshaping the Lions roster ahead of the 2019 campaign, attempting to right the ship after four straight years of missing the playoffs. Muzzi will also serve in the same role with the Orlando Pride, and be heavily involved in the development academy and Orlando City B.