For Orlando City’s young Homegrowns, there’s not a whole lot of “off” in offseason.
No games to play? No problem.
Orlando City goalkeeper Mason Stajduhar, defender Michael Halliday, and midfielders David Loera and Jordan Bender are set to train with CF Pachuca, one of the biggest teams in Mexico. The four players arrived in Pachuca this past Friday and are set to remain with Los Tuzos until January 24.
“We are excited for this group of players to spend time training with a top club like Pachuca,” said Orlando City Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations Luiz Muzzi. “Mason, Jordan, David, and Michael will all have the opportunity to experience a different soccer culture, a new routine, and a new environment.”
Pachuca, founded in 1901, is one of the oldest and most successful teams in North American soccer history. Los Tuzos have won six Liga MX titles, all since 1999, and five CONCACAF Champions Leagues, most recently in 2016-17, when they defeated Tigres for the crown. Their vaunted academy has produced Mexican international stars like Hirving “Chucky” Lozano, Rodolfo Pizarro, and Héctor Herrera. Their facilities are renowned as among the best on the continent.
Bender, Loera, and Halliday all signed their Homegrown contracts prior to or during the 2020 season, while Stajduhar has been with the club since 2016, signing at the age of 18.
Orlando City has continued to establish relationships with other clubs overseas, with young players making major improvements after spending time training away from Orlando. Chris Mueller went to Portugal for a stint with SC Braga, while Benji Michel spent last winter with Brazilian club Athletico Paranaense. Both players earned call-ups to the U.S. Men’s National Team after the 2020 season.