Orange County SC have been basking in the glow of their first league title, but they can’t rest on their laurels, so let’s catch up on the news surrounding the defending USL Championship champs.
Danny Acosta signs
The club announced on Friday they have signed defender Danilo “Danny” Acosta. The 24-year-old joins after two seasons at the LA Galaxy. He tore his ACL in the 2020 preseason and didn’t feature at all in that cursed year, but saw a handful of appearances as a reserve left back in 2021 for the first team, as well as some time on loan at LA Galaxy II.
“We are delighted to add Danny to our 2022 roster,” President of Soccer Operations Oliver Wyss said in a team statement. ”Danny is a talented versatile defender and despite only being 24 years old, has already played multiple successful seasons in the MLS and USL as well as representing Honduras internationally.”
Acosta looked at one point on track to be the best left back in MLS, but after bouncing around the league some, he could use a fresh start and hopefully he can get back to his best with OCSC.
Henry getting looks from Europe
Kobi Henry, fresh off a call-up to a training camp with the senior U.S. Men’s National Team in December, is drawing real interest abroad, with ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle reporting the defender is on a trial/training stint at French outfit Reims.
Source tells ESPN that Orange County SC defender Kobi Henry - who was called up to the #usmnt last month - is headed to Ligue 1 side Reims for a trial with an eye towards a permanent move. Henry doesn't turn 18 until April 26, so no deal will be official prior to that date.— Jeff Carlisle (@JeffreyCarlisle) January 6, 2022
From what I’ve been told, it sounds like Reims is not the only club interested in the 17-year-old and he is due to visit some other countries in the coming weeks.
Henry won’t be eligible to move until the summer transfer window and is under contract to Orange County SC, so he will begin the 2022 season with the club.
Familiar faces returning
In addition to Henry returning to start the upcoming season, OCSC have announced they’re bringing back goalkeeper Patrick Rakovsky, defender Brent Richards, midfielders Mikko Kuningas, Brian Iloski and Tommy McCabe, and forward Ronaldo Damus. Considering how important all those players were to the championship-winning season, it’s great to see them coming back for another go-round.
Earnshaw joins coaching staff
Head coach Richard Chaplow has enlisted former teammate Robert Earnshaw to join his coaching staff for the 2022 season. Earnshaw was an accomplished forward during his playing career, notably becoming the only man to score a hat trick in each of the top four divisions in England. In 2013, he moved to MLS, playing for Toronto FC, Chicago Fire and the Vancouver Whitecaps while in North America. As an assistant coach, he has prior experience in the USL Championship, working at Fresno FC (RIP) in 2018-19.
“I am excited to be adding Robert to our coaching staff,” Chaplow said in a team statement. “Having played at the highest level, we know his experiences will be a useful learning tool for us, that has only been strengthened with the coaching journey he has been on. A great addition to the family, I can’t wait to get to work with him.”
Home opener announced
OCSC will open the 2022 season on Mar. 12 at Colorado Springs Switchbacks, an opponent they got the better of in 2021, but we’ll see if the trend holds. Orange County’s home opener, meanwhile, will take place Mar. 19 against Rio Grande Valley FC. The full 2022 slate will be out before long.
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