Budalic departure should give Orlando City supporters some real hope

Orlando City SC has been a bit of a train wreck these past few seasons.  But the organization took a critical first step toward changing that and finally rewarding its worthy loyal supporters, for quite frankly delusional loyalty. Those fans have a new hope with the departure of General Manager Niki Budalic whose player personnel decisions were probably the worst in Major League Soccer over the last three years. We’ve previously spoken about the Lions front office relationship with UK-based sports agency Beswick’s . Going forward, Orlando City SC has an opportunity to continue its relationship with the agency but diversify its contacts and relationships by hiring an experienced MLS GM or Technical Director.

If one thing has guided has characterized City’s moves since the departure of well-thought of GM Paul McDonough in 2015, it’s naivety masked as arrogant confidence. The club now has a chance to turn the page on this and move forward.  Make no mistake about it, Budalic is far from solely responsible for the club’s continued epic failures. But as the person most responsible for player personnel decisions the last three years, his departure is likely to begin the long process of changing the broken culture of the club. 

“I would like to thank Niki for these past three seasons with us and wish him the best in his future endeavors,” Orlando City CEO Alex Leitão said in a press release. “We start a new year with many projects to look forward to, including strengthening our soccer operations department for the MLS and NWSL teams, opening a new training complex as well as kicking off the season with a revamped Academy structure and OCB sitting at the top of the player development pyramid in the USL League One. We welcome all 2019 has to offer with open arms and look forward to a great year with our staff, players and supporters.”

Sources confirm to me that not only will Budalic be replaced, but that the club is looking within MLS and USL for a replacement. That should be music to the ears of suffering Lions fans, who have endured so much pain yet have continued to support their club. 

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