Óscar Pareja, a former Major League Soccer Coach of the Year, was named head coach of Orlando City Soccer Club on Wednesday.
The former FC Dallas and Colorado Rapids manager was most recently the manager of Mexican side Tijuana in Liga MX. Pareja is the fourth full-time head coach in what will be the club’s sixth season in MLS.
Orlando City currently has the longest playoff drought in Major League Soccer. The club has yet to reach the postseason in its five seasons in the league. Its new coach has qualified for the MLS Cup Playoffs five times in his seven seasons on a MLS touchline.
“Óscar is the perfect fit for the Orlando City organization, something I can say with confidence from our history of working together,” said Orlando City SC Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations Luiz Muzzi in a statement. “He possesses the talent and passion to help our Club reach both its short term goals on the field and long-term plans for the organization. Óscar checked all the boxes we were looking to fill and his vision is aligned with the plans that we have as a Club – to invest in and develop players at all levels of our pyramid to be both proud and successful when wearing the Orlando City crest.”
Muzzi spent six years in the FC Dallas organization, a spell that encapsulated Pareja’s tenure.
Pareja was 122-68-81 in seven seasons as a MLS Coach, including a 97-55-50 mark at FC Dallas. He won the Supporters’ Shield in 2016 as well as the U.S. Open Cup.
His record averages out to 1.59 points per game and 54 points per season. Were the Columbian to produce similar success with the Lions, it would almost assuredly lead to Orlando City’s first MLS Cup Playoff berth.
“I’m very excited to be returning to Major League Soccer and to be joining the Orlando City organization,” Pareja said in a statement released by the club. “The future of this club is extremely bright, with so many opportunities to grow and succeed at all levels of the club – from the new training facility to the world-class stadium and from the Development Academy all the way to the MLS side. Orlando is an incredible soccer city, with an especially passionate and dedicated fan base. I can’t wait to get started.”