Major League Soccer’s (MLS) Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) and United Soccer League’s (USL) Orange County Blues Football Club today announced a multi-year partnership that will expand player development and create a pipeline that will foster top-class players competing at both the MLS and USL levels.
“We are thrilled to launch this exciting new era in Orange County soccer with our LAFC affiliation,” said Orange County GM and Executive VP of Soccer Operations Oliver Wyss. “This partnership will significantly enhance the quality of our first team and strengthen the bonds between the two clubs. Together we will expand opportunities for coaching education and focus on all aspects of player development.”
With LAFC set to take the pitch in 2018, the partnership will provide LAFC the ability to loan players to Orange County as soon as 2017 and provide fans the opportunity to see some of LAFC’s future MLS stars on display in Orange County. LAFC players on loan to Orange County will be provided with a unique opportunity to develop in US Soccer’s fastest-growing and most dynamic professional league while Orange County soccer players will be provided with a clear pathway to reach the highest level of American soccer with LAFC.
“We are incredibly excited about this partnership, which will contribute significantly towards our goals of building a competitive roster in 2018 and growing the game here in Southern California. In the OC Blues, we have a fantastic partner with an owner and staff who closely align with our vision to bring world-class professional soccer to Southern California,” said LAFC Executive VP of Soccer Operations John Thorrington.
The partnership with LAFC is just the first of many announcements that will be coming out of Orange County in the weeks to come. Since taking ownership of the club in August 2016, Orange County’s new owner and team president, James Keston is taking dramatic steps to transform the club into a world-class professional soccer organization. Keston’s first step towards accomplishing this goal is selecting a state-of-the-art venue for the club. The club is also undertaking a complete rebranding process that will see the team formerly known as the Blues take on a new identity built on significant fan input.
LAFC’s Banc of California Stadium continues to make strides in 2016 and after several weeks of excavation and digging on its construction site, LAFC closes out another landmark year with a foundational concrete pour happening later this week. Earlier this year LAFC scored several tremendous victories for the Club, its fans and the people of Los Angeles including complete demolition of the Sports Arena, kicking off a historic groundbreaking ceremony with Club owners and supporters, announcing the official stadium naming rights, securing unanimous approval from the Los Angeles City Council on its Final Environmental Impact Report and proudly unveiling the new crest and team colors.