USL Pro side Oklahoma City Energy FC hasn’t played a game yet and is set to make their debut in 2014. Additionally, they have zero players signed to their rosters. However, on Friday, the OKC Energy announced they have signed former Sporting Kansas City goalie Jimmy Nielsen as their first head coach and announced a partnership with MLS side Sporting Kansas City.
On the partnership side, SKC will have two USL-Pro affiliates in OKC and Orlando City SC. However, this decision to add the Energy as an affiliate almost makes too much sense. First, Orlando will be making the jump to MLS in 2015, so Sporting needed another affiliate. Secondly, Oklahoma City is much closer to Sporting’s home stadium than Orlando is. If 2013 was any indication, the MLS- USL Pro partnership will continue to pay off for both sides of the partnership. With the agreement, SKC must send at least two players to both squads during the 2014 season.
On the coaching side, Oklahoma made a smart decision hiring Nielsen, who recently announced his retirement after helping Kansas City win the 2013 MLS Cup. With the partnership, Nielsen remains close to his former teammates and coaches. Additionally, Nielsen now transitions from player to coach himself, and proves to others that his coaching career success can follow suit to his success as a player.
“My family and I are excited to take on this new challenge and I look forward to the start of my coaching career in Oklahoma City,” Nielsen said. “To remain a part of the Sporting Kansas City family and to take some of what I have learned from all of my coaches over the years, including Peter Vermes and staff, is an opportunity I embrace.”
With both of these decisions announced, Energy FC must now start signing players. You can’t win if you have no players on the squad, but that should come now that OKC has a head coach.
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