James O'Connor - Head Coach
O’Connor, 38, most recently coached Louisville City FC to an 18-6-8 (W-L-D) record to finish atop the Eastern Conference before leading the team to the 2017 USL Cup Championship in his third year as head coach. O’Connor’s tremendous success earned him a second-place finish for 2017 USL Coach of the Year.
Louisville City currently sits in third in the USL Eastern Conference and advanced to the quarterfinals of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup with wins over MLS side New England Revolution in the fourth round and USL side Nashville SC in the Round of 16.
O’Connor began his head coaching career at LouCity ahead of the club’s inaugural season in 2015. Orlando City’s USL affiliate at the time, LouCity made its way to the fourth round of the Open Cup and made it to the USL Cup semifinal before falling to the eventual champion Rochester Rhinos.
In 2016, O’Connor led LouCity to a 12-point increase over the previous season and built a 17-game unbeaten streak. LouCity made its way to another Eastern Conference Final before falling to the eventual champion New York Red Bulls II.
Before going into coaching, O’Connor enjoyed a lengthy career as a player. A native of Ireland, O’Connor played for nearly a decade for then-English First Division side Stoke City, as well as West Bromwich Albion, Burnley and Sheffield Wednesday. O’Connor played for Orlando City from 2012 to 2014 during its USL Pro days, totaling over 4,000 minutes and helping the Club capture the 2012 USL regular-season championship and the 2013 USL Cup as a player/coach.
Daniel Byrd - Assistant Coach
Before heading to Louisville, Byrd knew O’Connor while the two were both at Orlando City SC during the Club’s USL Pro days. Byrd was an Orlando City Youth Soccer coach while O’Connor was a player/coach for the Lions.
Byrd, who grew up in Zambia and Mozambique with his missionary family, played college soccer at Johnson University Tennessee from 2000 to 2004, where he was the captain and leading scorer. In 2012, Byrd joined the coaching staff at St. Catharine College in Kentucky before heading to Louisville.
Thabane Sutu - Goalkeepers Coach
In addition to coaching LouCity’s goalkeepers, Sutu served as the technical director for United 1996 Futbol Club, a prominent youth program. As a professional goalkeeper, Sutu won the Arab League title in 1995 and three straight Egyptian league titles from 1994 to 1996. Sutu was the goalkeeper for and captained his native Lesotho national team from 1994 to 1997.