[USL PRO 2014 COUNTDOWN] Dane Jimmy Nielsen, who recently retired after captaining Sporting Kansas City to the 2013 MLS title, has been named the head coach of the new USL PRO team OKC Energy FC, which will begin play in 2014.
MLS/USL PRO Partnerships:
Sporting KC/Orlando City-OKC Energy FC
It was also announced that OKC Energy FC will join Orlando City as affiliates of Sporting Kansas City for the 2014 season. A minimum of two Sporting Kansas City players will be loaned to each USL PRO team throughout the season as part of the agreements.
The Orlando City loan players in 2013 included Dom Dwyer and C.J. Sapong, who both ended up starting in MLS Cup 2013. Orlando City's entry into MLS in 2015 would have required Sporting KC to seek another USL PRO partner or launch its own team.
“We are pleased to affiliate with Sporting KC during our first season of play,” said CEO Bob FunkJr. of OKC Energy FC owner Prodigal LLC in a statement. “Our partnership with them in this endeavor is groundbreaking. This relationship starts with Jimmy Nielsen as our head coach and a number of quality players that Sporting KC will provide, but also extends beyond the field of play and into all of our soccer business interests for the long term.”