As we count down to the new year of 2019 – which will be Orlando City SC’s fifth in MLS and Orlando Pride’s fourth in the NWSL – and say goodbye to 2018, it’s time to look back at the club’s 10 best moments of the year.
Orlando City announced the return of developmental side Orlando City B for 2019, playing in the inaugural season for the new USL League One — a provisional third division league. The new team will feature players who are trying to find a bridge from the academy to professional soccer at the MLS level, possibly with a stop in college in between. Most of these players will be quite young, and in fact the first two signings for the new squad are teenagers.
One of the biggest announcements so far regarding the new OCB — which will play its home games at Montverde Academy in 2019 — came just a couple of weeks ago on Dec. 6, when the club released the news that former United States Men’s National Team defender Oguchi Onyewu will serve as the side’s technical director. “Gooch” retired as a player back in September.
Reporting to OCB General Manager Mike Potempa, Onyewu will oversee daily technical operations and compliance, manage player relations, and support recruitment efforts. This is a big responsibility. While a player of Onyewu’s profile and his USMNT background should be able to recruit, it’s unknown how much success he’ll have shepherding players from the academy to the USL level and beyond. At least he’s got experience for the job, including being part of the U.S. Residency Program in Bradenton, FL, and also two seasons of college soccer at Clemson.
“We are delighted to directly involve someone of Oguchi’s stature into our next generation youth movement,” Potempa said in a club press release. “Onyewu has played a vital role within the soccer community in the United States for the past 15 years, both at the club and country level. The experience and immediate professionalism Oguchi will bring to our project are essential traits we believe will only enhance the culture of our team in 2019 and beyond.”
Showing this level of commitment to the new version of OCB is a good thing for the club. With an academy showing signs of progress since its move to Montverde, it’s important to set up OCB as a vital step in the developmental process to get those young players ready for the step up to the MLS side and it’s certainly worthy of being one of our top 10 moments of 2018.
Stay tuned for nine more top OCSC moments of 2018 as we count them down through New Year’s Eve.