Orlando City SC announced on Thursday that Midfielder, Jamie Watson, has transferred to Minnesota United F.C. (MUFC) of the North American Soccer League (NASL) on a multi-year deal.
“It’s a great opportunity for Jamie,” said Head Coach Adrian Heath. “I couldn’t give him the kind of assurance that he is looking for on playing time in the coming season. It’s a sad day but it’s one of those decisions that has been made for all the right reasons. As an organization, we have to make the right decisions for both players and the club. This is a very good opportunity for Jamie and we didn’t feel as though we could stand in his way.”
With the recent addition of talented attacking players such as Kevin Molino, Darwin Ceren, Yordany Alvarez, Austin Da Luz and Corey Hertzog, coupled with the imminent arrival of several other players, Watson could not be guaranteed a berth on the club’s Major League Soccer (MLS) roster or sufficient playing time in 2014.
The move to Minnesota provides the midfielder with an opportunity for more playing time in 2014 and for many coming years.
Originally drafted by Real Salt Lake as the 13th overall pick in the 2005 MLS SuperDraft, Watson signed with the Lions in 2010 off-season as the club made its transition to Orlando.
In three seasons with Orlando, Watson appeared in 61 matches and earned all-league honors on two occasions. With over 4,000 minutes played, Watson found the back of the net 23 times as a Lion, and also contributed 13 assists.
“Jamie has been a great player for Orlando City,” said Orlando City President, Phil Rawlins. “He’s been with us since our beginning in Austin and is part of the family here. He’ll always be welcomed back here and we wish him nothing but the best as he moves forward with his career.”
This past season, MUFC finished fourth in the NASL (6-2-6), and the addition of Watson will provide a familiar face for Minnesota fans. During the 2012 off-season, Watson went on loan to the Minnesota based club and helped guide them to a second-consecutive NASL Soccer Bowl appearance.
"The six years I've spent with this organization have been fantastic," said Watson. "Words can't begin to describe how special the fans, my teammates, the coaches, and the front office have been to me. Although this is something which happens in soccer, I appreciate the manner in which this was conducted by all parties and I’m excited for a new challenge ahead in Minnesota. From the bottom of my heart, thank you Orlando City.