James O’Connor formally joins Orlando City Soccer

James O’Connor (pictured above right), new Orlando City Soccer Club Head Coach, was formally introduced to the media on Monday afternoon after joining from USL side Louisville City FC.

Appearing alongside Orlando City general manager for soccer operations, Niki Budalic (pictured above), the convenial Irishman stated that he was only focused on the things that he can control but he was impressed with the quality of the roster he now had at his disposal.

“I think anybody who knows me knows that I’m very hungry and I’m determined to get success. I think the biggest thing for me is sitting down with the players, trying to establish a relationship with the players. When I look at the quality of players that are here, I’m genuinely really excited.”

I can try to control the quality of training,” he said. “I can try to control the level of preparation. They’re areas I spend a lot of time focusing on. If I can get that right, get the short term right, then the long term will look after itself.”

Earlier in the day, O’Connor made his first appearance in training as the leader of the Lions. Assistant coach Daniel Byrd, who came with O’Connor from Louisville, was also present at the training session at Sylvan Lake Park.

“This club has been brought up on attacking football,” O’Connor said. “That’s the biggest thing, and it’s used to winning. Certainly, in my time here, it’s always had a winning culture. I think, obviously, the transition to MLS, there’s been a huge desire to continue that.”

“Will it be exciting? Will it be entertaining? That’s how my teams play. We want to be aggressive in the attack, we want to score goals. But, equally, we want to keep clean sheets and we want to win games. It’s trying to make sure there’s understanding of defense in transition and what that entails and making sure the roles and responsibilities are laid out and that people can get a good understanding.”

Budalic also confirmed that assistant coach Bobby Murphy, the club’s interim head coach after the firing of Jason Kreis, and goalkeeper coach Tim Mulqueen were no longer to be involved with Orlando City’s first team and that more announcements in that regard are on the way.

Veteran winger Justin Meram, who was released from the club for three days due to “personal reasons” prior to the 4-0 loss in Atlanta, returned to training today and midfielder Yoshi Yotún, who was with Peru’s men’s national team for the World Cup in Russia, was also present.

O’Connor is now focused on the upcoming trip to face LAFC this weekend. A team in good form with Adama Diomande having just bagged the first hat trick in club history as the expansion club continued its red hot start to the season with a 4-1 home victory over Philadelphia Union.





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