Pictured left to right: Oliver Wyss (GM & EVP of Soccer Operations), Dan Levine (Stance Socks EVP Merchandising & Design), James Keston (Owner), Frans Hoek and Logan Pause (Head Coach)
IRVINE, Calif. – Internationally-renowned Coach Frans Hoek granted Orange County SC the insight he has garnered in his extensive career as he visited the USL club during the past week.
Fresh from taking charge of the Netherlands in their recent international clash with Italy following the departure of Dutch National team Head Coach Danny Blind, Hoek’s visit provided another boost toward Orange County’s strong start as the club builds toward its home opener on May 6 at the Orange County Great Park.
During his time with the club, Hoek observed and participated in Orange County training sessions and also spent time advising the technical staff on coaching, player and youth development and scouting. Hoek believes the club is making significant progress on and off the field.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Orange County SC,” said Hoek. “The club has tremendous potential. They now have the infrastructure and staff to take advantage of the abundance of talent in Southern California. I am excited to see the growth of professional soccer in Orange County.”
Hoek started his coaching career at AFC Ajax following a 13-year playing career in the top flight in Dutch football. At 28, he was appointed first-team coach to one of the world’s greatest players, Johan Cruyff, before taking up an assistant coaching role with another one of Dutch football’s iconic figures, Louis Van Gaal. He forged an intimate relationship with Van Gaal, with the pair going on to work together at AFC Ajax, FC Barcelona, FC Bayern Munich, Manchester United FC and the Dutch national team.
Hoek’s illustrious coaching career spans more than 30 years, which has seen him win titles all across Europe ranging from Germany’s Bundesliga and Spain’s La Liga to the UEFA Champions League. He has also worked with some of the finest players of this generation such as Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Ronaldinho.
While in Orange County, Hoek observed the recent changes the club has undergone and advised on a number of areas to assist with the club’s development. He worked alongside the coaching staff and provided insight to training sessions and methods he ran at Manchester United and how these could be transferred to Orange County’s training sessions.
Hoek also spent time running the technical staff through his encyclopaedic scouting database, and suggested ways to improve the scouting and analysis department. Head Coach Logan Pause was delighted with the impact Hoek had on the club during his time in Orange County.
“Having the opportunity to spend time with Frans was a true gift and privilege,” said Pause. “Frans was incredibly open and generous to share both his knowledge and experience, as we strive to meet our goals as a club. Having a global perspective from the highest level is invaluable. I would like to thank Frans for his time and advice.”
Photo courtesy David Calvert / Reno 1868 FC
Not only did Hoek spend time with the club’s technical staff; he also presented to Orange County SC’s founding members at a special event at Stance Socks Headquarters in San Clemente, Calif. The club’s founding members were lucky enough to spend the evening with Hoek as he shared his experiences and stories from his time with Europe’s elite clubs.
He also explained how he saw Orange County and Southern California as the perfect location for professional soccer to thrive and how the fundamentals of what he implemented at FC Barcelona can be replicated in Southern California. The club’s founding members had the opportunity ask Hoek questions and take pictures with the highly renowned coach.
Orange County will play their first home game on May 6th vs. LA Galaxy II at the Orange County Great Park. Tickets are on sale now at www.orangecountysoccer.com/tickets.