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Orlando City hires two former Louisville City FC assistants to James O’Connor’s technical staff

Orlando City coach James O'Connor walks to his first training session as the leader of the club. (Jordan Culver-Orlando Sentinel)

Orlando City hired assistant coach Daniel Byrd and goalkeeper coach Thabane Sutu on Friday as part of head coach James O’Connor’s staff.

The two new Major League Soccer coaches join the Lions from O’Connor’s previous team, Louisville City FC of the second-tier United Soccer League. They’ve coached under O’Connor since 2015, helping Louisville to three consecutive USL Eastern Conference finals, including the team’s 2017 championship season.

“Daniel and Thabane were obvious fits for the technical staff, not just because they worked well with James, but because they also had a lot of success at Louisville,” Lions general manager Niki Budalic said. “That’s been a primary focus as we prepare for the second half of the season and beyond. We’re very excited for Daniel and Thabane to join us.”

Byrd grew up in Zambia and Mozambique with a missionary family and later played collegiate soccer at Johnson University in Tennessee, where he served as captain and led the team in scoring from 2000 to 2004. He previously served as a youth soccer coach for Orlando City SC during the club’s USL Pro days, while O’Connor played for the Lions. After that, Byrd was part of the coaching staff at St. Catharine College in Kentucky.

Sutu coached Louisville City’s goalkeepers and served as the technical director for youth program United 1996 Futbol Club.

“As a professional player goalkeeper, Sutu won the Arab League title in 1995 and three straight Egyptian league titles from 1994 to 1996,” the club’s statement said. “Sutu was the goalkeeper for and captained his native Lesotho national team from 1994 to 1997.”

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