Entering the winter transfer window and a critical offseason for team development, Orlando City will be without an important person in the front office.
Chief soccer officer Armando Carneiro has stepped down from his position citing personal reasons, the Orlando City board announced. Phil Rawlins will take over his responsibilities directing the soccer decisions — including building the Orlando Pride and Orlando City B — while the team searches for a permanent replacement.
“We fully understand Armando’s personal reasons for stepping down from his role and respect his wishes. We thank him for his help and wish him luck with his future career,” Rawlins said in a press release. “Our focus in the next few weeks will be on the upcoming drafts, finalizing our rosters and putting together a successful preseason that will properly prepare all three teams to kick off their 2016 campaigns. Our goal for the coming year is nothing less than reaching playoffs with both the Lions and Pride, and we are keenly focused on achieving that goal for our fans and our Club.”
This announcement on top of the sudden departure of Paul McDonough leaves Orlando City without a proper general manager. Rawlins has run the team before at the USL level, but it would seem Orlando City wants a full-time person managing the club’s three teams.
When Orlando City hired Carneiro, it was figured he would help transform some of Orlando City’s management and thinking from an expansion and minor league franchise into a much larger organization with several teams to account for and build. The idea of having a club like Orlando City B is to help players grow into potential players for the home team.
Carneiro also figured to help Orlando City continue recruitment for transfers overseas. His connection to Brazil (along with the club’s own connections) could have made Orlando City something of a pipeline from Brazil to the MLS.
It is still quite possible Orlando City looks for a similar connection in its new general manager.
The team is certainly at something of a crossroads having to scramble to build their teams and find a new general manager in the process. The winter transfer period is getting set to open and the Lions have some work to do to fill out and improve their roster. Rawlins and the club will have to move quickly.