Orange County FC Head Coach Paul Caligiuri

by Art Eftekhari

Southern California’s newest semi-pro team Orange County FC will be making its debut in the 2017 Season of the National Premier Soccer League and will be Coached by legendary American international Paul Caligiuri. The former defensive midfielder represented the United States in World Cup Italia 90 and World Cup USA 94.

Orange County FC is owned by Nader Dejbakhsh, an Iranian-American businessman and long-time soccer fan who decided to turn his passion into reality by entering OCFC into the NPSL.

Originally, Dejbakhsh’s team was supposed to be coached by former Jamaican international Bryan Wallace but recently he decided to take an assistant coaching position in the Chinese Super League.

The loss for Dejbakhsh turned into an opportunity to lure Paul Caligiuri back into the profession of coaching.

“It’s not every day that you get the opportunity of having a legend such as Paul Caligiuri available to lead your team,” said Dejbakhsh.

“We are simply very lucky and fortunate that we have him on board with OCFC.”

Paul Caligiuri is a name that is synonymous with U.S. Soccer. You can’t mention U.S. Soccer without talking about Caligiuri and vice-versa.

Caligiuri made a name for himself when he played overseas in Germany for SV Meppen, Hansa Rostock, and FC Freiburg.

This is his first head coaching position since he was on the sidelines for the men’s team of Cal Poly Pomona back in 2008 but this stint will surely be more challenging for one of the most famous players ever to suit up for the “Stars and Stripes.”

Paul Caligiuri is best remembered for scoring the goal against Trinidad & Tobago in a World Cup Qualifier back in 1989 that booked a spot for the United States in World Cup Italia 90. To this day, it is known as U.S. Soccer’s version of “The Shot Heard ‘Round the World.”

Caligiuri’s goal against Trinidad & Tobago brought the United States back into the world of soccer after a forty-year absence from the World Cup and now he has the task of making Orange County FC heard around the National Premier Soccer League.