Orlando City head coach Oscar Pareja signs new contract

Oscar Pareja

Orlando City SC have resolved their head-coach uncertainty, announcing Tuesday that Oscar Pareja has signed a new two-year deal through the 2025 MLS season.

Pareja was out of contract after the 2023 campaign, when the Lions finished second in the overall league table and earned a club-record 63 points (18W-7L-9D), before falling to eventual league champions Columbus Crew in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

“Oscar has been integral to what we are building, and his leadership and dedication to winning championships has set an example for everyone at our club,” chairman Mark Wilf said in a statement.

“Oscar takes great pride in representing Orlando City SC and has established a culture that embodies everything our organization is about and a team of which our fans can be proud. The positive relationships and respect Oscar creates with his players have built a critical foundation for success. We are excited to have Oscar continue to lead us into the future.”

Steady hand

Since becoming Orlando’s head coach before the 2020 season, Pareja has led the club to four straight Audi MLS Cup Playoffs appearances and two straight Concacaf Champions Cup appearances. He also won the 2022 US Open Cup with Orlando, their first MLS-era title.

Pareja previously led the Colorado Rapids (2012-14) and FC Dallas (2014-18), as well as Liga MX side Club Tijuana. Now 55, Pareja’s playing career spanned nearly two decades and included 11 caps for his native Colombia.

“I first want to say how grateful I am to the Wilf family and the whole ownership group for the support that they’ve given us and allowing us to create the culture here that we have built these last few years,” Pareja said in a statement. “The support that the fans have shown us has been incredible through everything and, along with everyone working at the club, they’ve made me feel like this is home.

“We know that there are things left that we want to achieve here in Orlando and I feel like we can accomplish those objectives," Pareja said. "I’m excited to stay here in Orlando and for what’s to come.”

Bright future

Heading into 2024, Orlando have an open Designated Player spot to utilize alongside attacking midfielders Facundo Torres and Martín Ojeda. Their core extends to goalkeeper Pedro Gallese, center back Robin Jansson, midfielder César Araújo, striker Duncan McGuire and more – forming one of the league’s top rosters.

The Lions’ first competitive game will be Feb. 21, when they visit Canadian Premier League side Cavalry FC in Round One of the 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup.