Orlando City coach turns down MLS; sets eyes on winning

ORLANDO — Orlando City head coach Adrian Heath has decided to stay with the club for an additional three years after turning down a very expensive contract from Major League Soccer (MLS) side Toronto FC.

“I got offered a financial deal, which was very good from Toronto, but the football side wasn’t exactly what I wanted,” Heath told the Valencia Voice. “One of the great things about Orlando is we have something special, and we need to continue growing it.”

Heath, who has been with the club since 2011, has seen much success, clinching two consecutive regular season titles and one postseason championship during the Lions’ inaugural season.

“At this moment, I just felt Toronto wasn’t right for me.”

Despite the team falling out in the semifinal stage of the playoffs, Heath remains confident and maintains a positive attitude.

“The fact that we’ve lost four games in two years means that we’re really good,” Heath said on the progress the team has made over the last two years. “We’re building something here, for me to leave what we created the last two years, and we know it’s moving forward, for me to leave that it has to be very good.”

With Orlando City enjoying a recognizable developmental system, Heath has received much praise in the USL Pro for championing the growing process. When asked if he considered himself an important figure in the league, he replied, “I believe the team is very important in the league just by the strives they do to compete at a high level.”

Heath has played a vital role in sending former Orlando City players onto higher levels of play in the sport of soccer, with Yordany Alvarez being one of them. He now plays in MLS for Real Salt Lake.

“Yordany is one of those diamond-in-a-rough. I remember the combine that we had in California that found Yordany Alvarez, and I remember within the first five minutes I wanted to sign the kid.”

Heath didn’t hesitate in saying that if the team is able to progress their players into better leagues, then the team has done its job.

The season doesn’t start until later on in 2013, but Heath did mention that 2012 USL Pro MVP Kevin Molino is most likely not coming back.

“Kevin Molino is out of contract, and he’s in Europe right now, so chances are he isn’t coming back.”

Heath does expect to see several of his players returning before the start of the 2013 season and anticipates a hefty turnout for the February open tryouts.

“I believe we are the best team outside of the MLS, and what we need to do next year is to prove we are the best team, only way to do that is to win everything.”