Louisville City FC announced on Monday the return of James O'Connor to the club as its new Executive Vice President of Development. | Photo courtesy Em-Dash Photography / Louisville City FC
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Louisville City FC welcomed a familiar face back to the club on Monday as James O’Connor was unveiled as the club’s new Executive Vice President of Development.
O’Connor previously led LouCity as the first Head Coach in the club’s history, and won the 2017 USL Championship Final before departing midway through the 2018 season to take the Head Coach position at Major League Soccer’s Orlando City SC. He will now lead Louisville’s efforts in the creation of the organization’s National Women’s Soccer League franchise, and building the structure around LouCity’s new Academy program and USL League Two side that will kick off in 2020.
“We are excited to welcome James into our front office,” Soccer Holdings President Brad Estes said. “[Current LouCity Head Coach John Hackworth] and his staff are doing a phenomenal job leading our USL Championship team. We know James will be equally effective in developing the plan for our Academy and in building our NWSL side.”
O’Connor was crucial in the development of Louisville City when the club began in 2015, identifying and bringing in talented players while helping develop the professional soccer culture in the city. He will be taking on a similar task in launching the NWSL and Academy programs. O’Connor will not be coaching the new NWSL team but will develop the organizational structure around the new team and will identify, evaluate and hire the staff members who will launch the club next year.
“I’d like to thank John Neace, Brad Estes, and the ownership group for giving me this great opportunity,” O’Connor said. “It is a wonderful time to be rejoining this class organization. We have an opportunity to build our Academy to develop the next generation of local talent. We are also welcoming some of the best women’s soccer stars in the world to Louisville in 2021. We have a lot of work to do, and I can’t wait to get started.”
In addition to working to put in place the foundation of the NWSL franchise, O’Connor will work with Director of Youth Development Mario Sanchez and Louisville City Head Coach and Sporting Director John Hackworth on growing the Academy and development program. O’Connor will be developing the structure supporting the Academy to aid Sanchez’s work on the pitch so that the men’s and women’s Academy system can properly prepare players to compete for Hackworth’s team and the future NWSL team.
“It is an extraordinarily fortunate opportunity that James and his family have chosen to return to our club,” Hackworth said. “His impact previously speaks for itself, but the future growth of our organization needs his unique and unprecedented skill set. On a personal level, I am excited to collaborate with James as we develop our club.”