Paul Caligiuri & Orange County FC Remain Undefeated
More than just providing an environment for great soccer action, the NPSL is focused on giving players the chance to develop and reach for their dreams of becoming a professional soccer player. While the fans at NPSL games may cheer for their favorite teams, there is often more going on than just winning and losing — sometimes it is about giving a player opportunity, occasionally it is about even more.
Orange County FC of the NPSL is dedicated to providing future talent with the opportunity to compete at the next level. With inclusion of youth players within its program, OCFC is growing the game in Lake Forest with Paul Caligiuri at the helm.
Related Article: How To Become a Dynamic Soccer Player With Paul Caligiuri
Led by head coach Paul Caligiuri, former U.S. Men’s National Team star, OCFC is built for success as the club brings victory to the region.
Caligiuri’s playing days include him scoring the game-winning goal during the United States’ historic victory over Trinidad in a World Cup qualifier in 1989. Considered the Most Significant Goals In U.S. Soccer History … It was Caligiuri’s goal that got the USA back into the FIFA World Cup after a 40 year draught. As Sports Illustrated says, “Paul Caligiuri’s wonder goal in 1989 set the table for a quarter-century of unprecedented U.S. soccer growth.”
Changing the status quo for the better is very much part of Caligiuri’s style — now that he has retired from a stellar career which included two World Cups and lifting the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Championship trophy with the LA Galaxy in his final match in 2001, he has turned his talents to giving chances to younger players.
This year, Caligiuri has taken his talents to the coaching field on the NPSL level as he builds a program for the community of Orange County.
“When I became the coach for Orange Country FC, I set out to create a family environment — one without any huge expectations — as we must realize there are some very good NPSL teams out there,” says Caligiuri. “We are undefeated, but we are only in the first part of the NPSL Season. The second half of the season, when we will all know each other better, winning will be more difficult. The second half of every league is always the toughest.”
Caligiuri is a man who does more than talk about helping players reach for their dreams — he is a coach who gives talent the opportunity and the room to grow.
“It’s more than giving players a chance,” says Caliguiri.
“It’s about integrated training — and providing real development opportunities — that is what happens all over the world,” says Caligiuri.
“At the younger ages, players should be playing up,” says Caligiuri. “Like freshman in high school football — they play with juniors and seniors. At OCFC, we have the platform to bring players in to train. When we played Albion PROS, I had a 16-year-old who played the full 90-minute game. That was a great experience for him. That is what is should be about.”
OCFC is dedicated to providing promising youth — like 16-year-old OCFC debutant Tristan Weber — and adult players with the chance to test their skills at the next level.
The undefeated Lake Forest club beat Albion SC PROS last weekend 1-0, bringing its record to four wins and two ties on the season.
After a scoreless first half, OCFC English Striker Staforde Palmer scored the lone goal in the 54th minute, assisted by Erik Mueller.
Albion Pros’ goalkeeper Jean Antoine and OCFC’s goalkeeper Brandon Gomez continued to block all other shots from the back of their nets.
Albion Pros head coach Ziggy Korytoski could be heard from the sidelines encouraging his players but the night’s NPSL victory eluded his team.
In the tough matchup hosted in San Diego, OCFC’s Palmer was proud of recording the game-winning goal as Caligiuri’s side returned to Orange County with three points.
OCFC fans and members of the I-5 Army were in attendance on the night, which saw the PROS ruled down to ten men early on as a result of red card issued after OCFC’s Daniel Yo was injured by a blow to his face.
“Albion Pros were a tough team — and they played with only 10 men for the majority of the match, and they covered the field extremely well,” says Caliguiri.
OCFC next matchup versus SC Corinthians USA is scheduled for Saturday, April 29th, at Portola High School in Irvine, CA. Kickoff is at 6:00 p.m. PT.
Chris Real assisted with writing this article.