Orlando City announced this afternoon that club Academy Director Marcelo Neveleff has left to coach the Dominican Republic national team. Neveleff joined the club in 2019 to oversee the club’s academy and coached the club’s U-23 teams for three seasons. Assistant Academy Director and U-17 Head Coach Javier Carrillo will take over the role while the club searches for Neveleff’s replacement.
“We want to thank Marcelo for his immense contributions to the club and for bringing our academy to where it is today,” Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations Luiz Muzzi said in a club press release. “Under his guidance, we were able to bring our first MLS NEXT championship to Orlando, while taking our academy to new heights. We wish him nothing but the best in this new, exciting opportunity ahead.”
Neveleff was initially hired by Muzzi in May 2019 to take over the club’s academy. In December 2019, he was named head coach for OCB’s final season in USL League One. The second team took a year off in 2021 as it waited for the launch of MLS NEXT Pro, but Neveleff led OC Academy U23 in the UPSL in the meantime. When OCB restarted in 2022, Neveleff once again led the Young Lions.
Under Neveleff’s leadership, Orlando City signed eight academy players to Homegrown Player contracts — David Loera, Jordan Bender, Mikey Halliday, Wilfredo Rivera, Raul Aguilera, Thomas Williams, Alex Freeman, and Favian Loyola. However, only Halliday and Williams have impacted the first team. Loera and Bender lasted two seasons with the first team and Aguilera one before all three left the club.
Despite the lack of first-team impact, the Lions have significantly increased their Homegrown signings under Neveleff. Prior to his arrival, the club had only signed five Homegrown Players since 2014 and only two of those players actually came from the club’s academy.
Muzzi’s hiring of Neveleff completed the reuniting of the former FC Dallas trio that also included Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja. The Argentine was previously an assistant coach for the New England Revolution, where he also advised the club’s development academy. He was on the United States U-20 Men’s National Team coaching staff for the 2019 U-20 World Cup and was technical director for Weston FC from 2009 to 2015.
Since arriving in Orlando, Muzzi has put an emphasis on producing Homegrown talent for the first team. He’ll now be searching for a new academy director to assist with that goal.