Orlando City SC made big news on several different levels on Wednesday headlined by the announcement that the club would be moving its development academy and USL League One side, Orlando City B, away from Montverde Academy to the club’s new training facility at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee.
The Orlando City DA is set to move at the start of the 2019-20 academic year, while both Orlando City and OCB will wait until the ends of their respective campaigns until making the move into the new facility.
The moves put all three layers of the club’s structure under one roof, something Orlando City’s Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations Luiz Muzzi alluded to back on January 7 when he said, “Would it be nice to have everybody in the same spot? Sure. It would be great.”
“The benefits of having the teams under the same roof and in the same structure: well the first one, the obvious one, is that you can interact,” Muzzi said after today’s announcement. “You’ll have your first team staff, your OCB staff, your under-19’s, 17’s, 15’s staffs and they’re on the day-to-day talking about ‘how do we develop this player?’ For the players, they see the first team on a daily basis, right? They can actually see and kind of feel ‘this is where I want to go,’ that’s the place they want to be.
“Under-19 players, under-17 players will be training with the first team. There will be the obvious interaction right there. One team is training on Field 1, another team is training on Field 2, [the coaches can say] ‘hey I want to run some drills, give me those players, I want to run an 11v11. There will be lots of interaction that’s beneficial for everybody.”
Additionally, the club announced Marcelo Neveleff as the club’s new Academy Director, overseeing both the Development Academy and OCB. He will begin working with Muzzi on ensuring the path from the academy to the first team is being bridged as effectively as possible.
“Marcelo is a very experienced professional – as a coach, as an academy director, as a scout. He lived in Florida for a long time, he was an academy director for Weston, so he knows the Florida landscape, he knows the players here,” Muzzi said in a club release. “He brings a different culture, as well, and he’s been involved in the development of players in the United States for a long time. I think Marcelo is a great fit, he’s a guy that has a lot of talent and emotions and is very excited to be here. It couldn’t be a better fit.”
Neveleff comes to Orlando from the New England Revolution, where he has served as the first team assistant coach since 2017 as well as worked with U.S. Soccer as both a technical advisor for the Boys’ Development Academy and as an assistant for the U-20 Men’s National Team.
“I am very happy to join Orlando City SC. First of all, I would like to thank Club management for trusting me to lead such an important part of the organization. I believe the Academy is a vital pillar for the future success of Orlando City SC as an organization and for the MLS as a growing league,” Neveleff said. “The players we are responsible for developing will lay the foundation and help us achieve our vision to create a First Team with impactful Homegrown Players that are not just great soccer players, but also great human beings.”
On the women’s side, with Orlando City moving out of their Sylvan Lake Park facility after this season, the club announced that the Orlando Pride will become the first team in the NWSL to have its own customized, exclusive training facility with a major overhaul coming to the Sylvan Lake Park facilities this offseason.
The Pride currently train at Seminole Soccer Complex just down the road.
“I think this [move] is building the sustainability of the Club and of the franchise and it shows that you know what, we’re here to stay,” Orlando Pride General Manager Erik Ustruck said in a club release. “We’re showing a commitment to Seminole County, we’re showing a commitment to the Pride and that vision becomes global. This isn’t only for the immediate future and the current team, but it’s also to become a destination for the future of the Club, for the future of the franchise and to be able to attract top-class players from around the world and within the NWSL.”
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