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Three Encouraging Statements From James O’Connor’s Press Conference

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In the midst of artificial phrases and clichés, the new Orlando City coach sent some promising messages.

Image courtesy of Orlando City SC

Press conferences are normally boring for the most part. And it wasn’t much different when Orlando City SC introduced James O’Connor as the team’s new head coach on Monday.

However, blended in with a handful of cliches that emphasized the Irishman’s satisfaction for landing the job with the Lions there were some interesting statements made by the coach that, if genuine, might represent the first steps for the team to rebound in the 2018 MLS season.

Here are three of them:

“For me there’s a desperation to try to bring success here.”

Desperate is certainly a good way to define Orlando City’s current situation, as the team has lost each of its last eight MLS matches. However, at times the team’s terrible situation was not reflected in players’ expressions and actions during matches as it seemed they weren’t aware of their own recent struggles.

The Lions definitely need to have some sense of urgency to turn things around and they need it now. If O’Connor can translate his speech to the locker room and get the players more connected to the team’s situation, it would be a very good first step.

“When I look at the quality of the players, I’m generally really excited.”

Take this with a grain of salt as Orlando City CEO Alex Leitao had said 10 days ago that whoever the new coach was, he would have to work with the roster the Lions currently have. So, it wouldn’t be smart from O’Connor to speak any differently in his first official assessment.

But the truth is that Orlando’s roster is indeed pretty good and it should be performing better than it is now. Acknowledging that and praising the players is a good move as it boosts their confidence in a moment when they will need it to change the way things are going.

“People don’t really understand just what this club means to me.”

People committed with their causes are more likely to have success or at least to try harder to accomplish it and this kind of engagement is something that can only be beneficial to any relationship. O’Connor’s roots with Orlando are undeniable as he played for the Lions from 2012 to 2014 and was part of the team’s 2013 USL Cup-winning roster.

He feels as if he was partially responsible for Orlando’s rise to MLS and the fact that the team is not doing well truly bothers him. His passion and his connection to the club could provide the fuel for the energy he’ll need to change the pace of things with the Lions.