Orlando City announces James O’Connor as next head coach


Almost two weeks after parting ways with Jason Kreis, the Lions have named their new coach.

Louisville City FC head coach James O’Connor will be returning to Central Florida, this time to manage Orlando City — both clubs announced the move Friday.

“James was our top target going into the coaching search,” Orlando general manager Niki Budalic said in a statement. “He has proven himself a consistent winner as both a player and coach at the USL level, and now is extremely eager to prove himself in MLS.”

“James is very aware of the winning culture we have built in Orlando and what it will take to uphold that tradition in both the short- and long-term. We couldn’t be more excited for him to get started,” added Budalic.

Lions interim coach Bobby Murphy will coach Orlando’s upcoming game against Atlanta United on Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium at 7 p.m.

O’Connor will coach his last game for Louisville on Saturday when they take on the Tampa Bay Rowdies at Al Lang Stadium. O’Connor will join Orlando ahead of its away game against Los Angeles FC at Banc of California Stadium on July 7.

O’Connor will become Orlando’s third coach in four years.

Daniel Byrd — O’Connor’s assistant at Louisville — will be joining Orlando as well.

Paul Tenorio of The Athletic first reported the story, read here.

O’Connor, who joined Louisville in 2014, led the Boys in Purple to the 2017 USL Cup championship.

O’Connor originally played at Orlando City during the USL days from 2012-2014 and was part of the 2013 championship team where current Lions player Dom Dwyer played part in.

(Photo Courtesy of Mark Thor / Orlando City SC) 

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