Last Season’s Assistant Coach Steered Orange County to Back-to-Back Playoff Appearances Takes the Helm
The USL has become a dynamic force in the landscape of professional soccer in the USA and one of the strongest teams — one of the original, founding teams — Orange County SC has new leadership. Braeden Cloutier is a coach with a proven record and takes control of what many hope will be the winning season in America’s fastest growing league. “Character, attitude, and effort will be the foundation that will get us to the USL Cup Final,” said Cloutier.
Soccer News: Orange County Soccer Club has a new head coach — promoting former Assistant Coach Braeden Cloutier to the top position.
A familiar face for over a decade on the Orange County soccer scene after completing a fifteen-year professional career playing in various leagues including the third tier of the German Bundesliga, the MLS, and indoor soccer, Cloutier has served as Orange County SC’s Assistant Coach for the past three years and has been a head coach at the championship winning youth club West Coast FC for the past twelve years.
“We are privileged to have someone with Braeden’s talent and wealth of experience leading our club as our new head coach,” said General Manager & Executive Vice President Oliver Wyss.
“Braeden exemplifies everything we are looking for as a leader of our team. Braeden played an instrumental role as the lead assistant coach in our back-to-back playoff appearances in 2015 and 2016,” said Wyss. “Cloutier shares our philosophy of creating a relentless and disciplined team culture which consists of players with a strong mentality and character that will lead us back to the playoffs in 2018. Braeden will have a significant impact on our vision of developing and mentoring young talented players so they can succeed at the top professional levels in the United States and around the globe.”
Cloutier, 43, began his coaching career in Orange County when he became a player and assistant coach in 2005 and Head Coach of Orange County’s PDL team, the Orange County Blue Star, in 2006.
During his tenure, Cloutier helped shape the careers of numerous MLS players such as striker Kei Kamara of New England Revolution and midfielder Sacha Kljestan of the New York Red Bulls, working with these budding superstars at an early age and putting them on the pathway to professional soccer.
Cloutier’s commitment to cultivating young soccer talent in Orange County became a passion when he started coaching at West Coast FC that same year.
After the decision to permanently settle in Orange County and raise his three children here, Cloutier spent the last three seasons as assistant coach of Orange County SC and its predecessor, the Orange County Blues.
“I could not be more excited about this opportunity. I want to thank James, Oliver, and Frans for their trust and confidence in me,” said Cloutier. “I’ve been a part of the USL in Orange County for three years and look forward to continuing to build on the success the club has had over that time. I have plenty of knowledge of both the USL as a league and Orange County itself as a community. This has been my home for the past twelve years and where I’ve developed as a coach. Southern California has been a hotbed of soccer for quite some time. I want to give the local youth players a platform to grow and develop in the right environment at home.”
The Kansas native began his professional playing career at an early age to pursue his dream of being a professional soccer player by joining the German Bundesliga’s Hamburger SV with their reserve side at age 17. Cloutier would return to the United States a few years later and join the San Diego Sockers of the Continental Indoor Soccer League.
His successful career in MLS began in 1997 when he was drafted by the New York Metro Stars in the 1997 MLS Supplemental Draft. A fierce competitor, the defensive midfielder continued his success in MLS with the San Jose Clash and New England Revolution. Throughout his career, Cloutier’s passion for the game of soccer and determination to succeed has remained constant.
“As a player, I wanted nothing more than the respect of my teammates and coaches,” said Cloutier.
“I took tremendous pride in in my dedication and work ethic above all else. That’s what I want to instill here with the team we put together,” said Cloutier. “Character, attitude, and effort will be the foundation that will get us to the USL Cup Final.”
Cloutier will begin his role as head coach effective immediately.
Players will get their first chance to showcase their talents to Cloutier and the Orange County SC technical staff when the team hosts Open Tryouts on Saturday, January 20th and Sunday, January 21st at the Orange County Great Park’s Soccer Complex.
Did you know?
The Orange County Soccer Club is Orange County’s only professional soccer team and official affiliate partner of the Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) of Major League Soccer (MLS).
Orange County SC is a part of the United Soccer League (USL), the fastest growing Division II professional soccer leagues in the world comprised of 34 teams across the United States.
The team play their home games at the Orange County Great Park’s Championship Soccer Stadium located in Irvine, CA. Orange County SC was one of 12 founding members of the USL during its inaugural 2011 season.