It was a resilient weekend for the Orlando City Academy, emblematic of the fight the young Lions have shown on what was a big week for the Club’s developmental system as a whole.
The Orlando U15 and U17 teams faced two prestigious South Florida academies this weekend. Both sides dropped tight affairs with Weston FC in their first games, with the U15s falling 1-0 and the U17s going down 2-1 despite a goal from Johan Chirinos.
In their second games, though, both teams rallied. The U15s knocked off South Florida FC 2-1, with goals from Malik Akin and Antonio Campbell. The U17s then broke out their scoring boots in a 4-1 win over South Florida. Chirinos found the back of the net again, joined this time by Ryan Heron, Majed Abdullah, and Favian Loyola.
The weekend was followed by major news this week, as the Club announced the new coaching staff for Orlando City B, set to begin its first season in the all-new MLS NEXT Pro league later this month. Martín Perelman, fresh off a second division title with Comunicaciones in Argentina, will take charge of the new Orlando second team with Manuel Goldberg, Marcos Machado, and Vander Salas assisting.
Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja made special mention of his excitement with the pipeline from the Academy to the First Team adding this crucial link during his weekly press conference. “We’re very content and happy with having our second team competing and training,” he said. “We are very proud to show the league a product from our community, players that are here and have been working with that second group.”
OCB represents just one more opportunity for the young Orlando City Academy stars to continue their development along the very pyramid the Club has and continues to work tirelessly to build.