Earlier this year, we teamed up with Orange County Soccer Club in our first football sponsorship deal, and have been following their fortunes with growing excitement. Against all the odds, the team recently battled to their first USL Championship, lifting the trophy in Tampa Bay to crown an extraordinary season.
The year began in adversity, Covid restrictions limited the crowds and would-be star signing Adam Jahn went down with a season-ending injury 25 minutes into the first game of the season.
Although the first half of the season saw Orange County stay at the right end of the table, conceding late goals became a habit and wins turned into draws and draws into defeats.
A mid-season managerial change, elevating former player Richard Chaplow from assistant coach to interim head coach, made an immediate impact with a vital away win against main rivals San Diego Loyal.
Then followed a remarkable sequence of results which saw Orange County not only clinch a spot in the play-offs, but a coveted home game courtesy of five straight wins.
The play-off games were all real battles but, courtesy of two penalty shoot-out victories, Orange County claimed their first trophy, lifting the Western Conference crown in front of a record sell-out crowd.
Then it was off to Florida for the big show, a nationally-televised game against the all-conquering Tampa Bay Rowdies. Haitian goalscoring sensation Ronaldo Damus capped a fine season with two goals in the first half, followed by a stunning freekick from Finnish fan favorite Mikko Kuningas.
Orange County held off an onslaught from the home side to hold on for their ninth straight win and claim the USL Championship and a star on their jersey.
From everyone here at Glasswall, huge congratulations to everyone at Orange County Soccer Club on your remarkable achievement!