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Orlando City Signs Center Back Shane O’Neill

Former Colorado Rapids Homegrown Player joins the Lions.

England U21 v USA U23 - International Match Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images

As first reported by ProSoccerUSA’s Jordan Culver, The Mane Land sources confirm that Orlando City has bolstered its back line depth with the Discovery signing of center back Shane O’Neill. Details of the transaction were not disclosed but the club should be announcing the signing officially in the near future. He’ll be available for selection as soon as the MLS Secondary Transfer Window opens on July 10.

O’Neill, 24, has played both defense and defensive midfielder. Transfermarkt also says he can play right back. The former Colorado Rapids Homegrown Player is a 6-foot-2 product of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy and made 52 appearances (48 starts) with the Rapids from 2012 to 2015, scoring one goal. He also has one career MLS playoff start. O’Neill was the first Rapids player to graduate from the club’s academy and play for the first team, making his debut Sept. 5, 2012 in a 3-0 win over the Portland Timbers.

After making 26 appearances (24) starts in 2013, O’Neill received the Rapids Young Player of the Year award. He scored his first MLS goal on May 24, 2014 in a 4-1 win over the Montreal Impact. It was a cracker.

He was sold by the Rapids to Cyprus side Apollon Limassol for an undisclosed amount, but did not appear for the club. He had loan stints with Belgian side Royal Excel Mouscron and Cambridge United in England, making two appearances with the latter club in 2016.

After that, O’Neill played 25 games on loan with Dutch side NAC Breda in 2016-2017, scoring one goal. He also played one match in 2017-2018 in the Netherlands with S.B.V. Excelsior, although he missed some time there with an abdominal muscle injury.

O’Neill has 21 international caps with the U.S. youth national setup on the U-20 and U-23 levels. A native of Midleton, East Cork, Ireland, O’Neill is a dual citizen and will not require an international slot. He comes from good stock, as his father, Colm, was an All-Ireland winning Gaelic footballer, who played for the Cork senior inter-county team.

What It Means for Orlando City

The Lions add center back depth in a season that has seen the club’s top four players in central defense go down with injuries at the same time. O’Neill is still young and has shown a lot of promise, so he likely hasn’t reached his ceiling yet. The fact that he earned interest in Europe after playing in MLS is a good sign. At worst, he’ll provide depth. At best, he could develop into a solid starter in the future.