Orlando City Soccer Club fires head coach

Last Updated: Thursday, July 07, 2016, 9:28 AM EDT

Orlando City Soccer Club agreed to "amicably part ways" with the team's head coach, the team announced Wednesday.

  • Coach Heath has been with Orlando City since before it moved to Orlando
  • Club calls it a "mutual release"
  • Assistant coach also leaving

Coach Adrian Heath has been with the club since it was known as the Austin Aztex in 2008. He brought the team to Orlando under the USL and guided the team as it transitioned into a Major League Soccer Club. The team won two championships under the USL. Orlando City is currently 4-4-8 and seventh in the MLS Eastern Conference standings.

Assistant Head Coach Mark Watson has also left the club. Both departures are effective immediately.

Orlando City Soccer issued this statment from club president Phil Rawlins and majority owner Flavio Augusto da Silva:

“It is always a very difficult decision to part ways with a head coach and not one that the Board of Directors has taken lightly. It is even more difficult when that coach has been instrumental in the growth of the Club since its inception over eight years ago. Adrian has served this Club with passion and enthusiasm,” said Orlando City SC Founder & President Phil Rawlins. “While our successes together are undoubtable, we believe the renewed energy this change will bring will be uplifting for the team. We feel that the time has come for us to move on with our future in MLS. We continue to remain very excited about the growth of our Club.”   

“This is a very difficult moment, but I fully support the decision made by the Board. I want to thank Adrian for the commitment and hard work he has given our team over the years and wish him success in his career,” said Club Majority Owner Flavio Augusto da Silva.  “Now, it’s time for us to turn our focus onto the rest of the season. We will do everything in our power to continue improving and giving our fans the best of us because they have been fantastic supporters."

Rawlins also penned an expanded open letter on Heath's departure, where he touted Heath's success as coach.

Orlando City says it is already searching for a new head coach. For the time being, Assistant Coach Bobby Murphy and Orlando City B Assistant Coach Anthony Pulis will lead the team.

This is a developing story. Check back for the latest.