It’s been an eventful few months for Orange County SC. The team rebranded in the offseason, hired a new coach, signed an almost new roster, and are in the process of moving to a new stadium for the 2017 USL regular season.
They also entered their first affiliate partnership with an MLS club, with expansion side Los Angeles Football Club. Given the promised connections between the clubs, with Orange County clearly taking some cues from the future MLS team as far as initial marketing for the rebranded side, and the personal connections, such as new OCSC head coach Logan Pause previously played with LAFC general manager and executive vice president of soccer operations John Thorrington at the Chicago Fire, and it seems like the partnership will be quite close in nature for the initial period.
That said, when it comes to the roster and the way Pause is approaching the partnership, the Orange County head coach laid out his approach in a recent interview with Angels on Parade.
“[Enticing players with the chance of going to LAFC is] not my carrot to dangle,” he said when asked if a shot at an LAFC roster spot was a recruiting tool of sorts. “That’s LAFC’s job, to pick the players that they want for their team, today, tomorrow, next week, next season.
“Now, absolutely there’s a close connection and there’s a lot of synergy between the two organizations and we are an hour apart in the car. So we have a lot of conversations regarding players and I believe that will continue.”
At the same time, Pause explained that while his own job was to help stock and lead the USL team, the group he and Oliver Wyss have assembled this year have a common ambition to move up the soccer pyramid.
“We have picked guys that are hungry for the next level. And ultimately we want to move as many guys as we can to the next level and be able to provide LAFC with quality, quality players for their roster. But they will choose the players that they want for their team now and moving forward. But we talk about an ambition to grow, an ambition to play at the next level, however we also talk about living in the present and living in the moment.”
Above all, Pause noted that the prospects on Orange County’s roster now, effectively going through a yearlong trial for LAFC, need to show they can hack it at the USL level before they get too hyped about moving to MLS.
“We’ve been very, very calculated in telling the players that in order to get to the next level, they have to perform every single day, and so they can’t live with their mind already thinking they’re going to be at and with LAFC.”
Orange County SC are in Portland this weekend, where they’ll take on Portland Timbers 2 at Providence Park on Saturday.
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