ORLANDO, Fla. — It's the decision that has soccer fans in Central Florida on edge.
The Orlando City Soccer Club has parted ways with its head coach, Adrian Heath, and called the split, ”amicable.”
But Channel 9’s Christian Bruey found out the split was anything but amicable.
A former colleague told Channel 9 that Heath was devastated, and that Heath found out he was being fired just moments before the release was sent out to the media.
Since Orlando City has been in the MLS under Heath, the team has had 16 wins, 18 losses and 16 ties, and they are on the cusp of the playoffs.
“It’s really about performance and our lack of performance this year, and really about putting a platform in place for the coming years, and where we want this football club to be,” Orlando City President Phil Rawlins said.
Sources told Bruey that Orlando City officials were thinking of firing Heath in October of last year.
Heath had been with the team since they moved to Orlando in 2010. He led the Lions to three USL regular season championships and was a pivotal figure in the team's push to bring Major League Soccer to Orlando.
The transition to MLS was not as easy as everyone at the club would have hoped.
Team captain, Ricardo Kaká, spoke with Channel 9 and he said he didn't think the move was anything out of the norm, despite the team’s brief stint at the highest level of U.S. Soccer.
“I want to thank Adrian for everything he did for this club,” said Kaká.
Orlando City will return to action Friday at Camping World Stadium against Houston Dynamo.
Assistant coaches Bobby Murphy and Anthony Pulis will serve as interim co-head coaches.
“This is a normal situation in football, soccer. We depend on results and sometimes we need change,” said Kaká.
In the span of barely a year, Orlando City has parted ways with their COO Brett Lashbrook, general manager Paul McDonough and longtime assistant coach Ian Fuller.
With more and more of a Brazilian influence under the leadership of majority owner Flavio Augusto da Silva, many have wondered if Rawlins could be next.
“No. I'm not going anywhere. After this interview, I'll go back to my office, but that's about as far as I’m going,” Rawlins said.
Cox Media Group