Rangers FC First Team Manager Steven Gerrard, Orange County SC Head Coach Braeden Cloutier, Orange County SC President of Soccer Operations Oliver Wyss and Rangers FC Rangers Managing Director Stewart Robertson. | Photo courtesy Orange County SC
GLASGOW, Scotland – Historic Scottish club Rangers FC announced on Monday a strategic partnership with Orange County SC of the USL Championship that will be founded on football, youth development and commercial activities between California and Glasgow.
The new partnership includes several exciting programs, activities and player movements between the two clubs. A number of Rangers Professional and Academy players will go on loan for the season to play in the Championship for Orange County from January 2020.
Three professional OCSC youth players were welcomed to Rangers on trial this December as United States youth internationals Francis Jacobs, Aaron Cervantes and Diego Lopez played in Academy matches for the club.
Full-time members of Rangers staff will transfer to Orange County to help develop and deliver the program on all levels, while preparations are being made for a Rangers squad to participate in a new concept friendly football tournament in Orange County in the summer of 2020 and 2021.
“We’re excited and proud to announce our relationship with Orange County Soccer Club,” said Rangers Managing Director Stewart Robertson. “The Club’s international strategy is a core-pillar to our growth plans and this relationship gives Rangers a permanent presence in the U.S. and a platform to develop further. After an initial approach from OCSC, my team and I visited Orange County earlier this year and saw the opportunities at first hand that this relationship could create.
“The Orange County area has hundreds of thousands of youth players and the club has first-class facilities and a staff that includes Technical Director Frans Hoek, formerly of Barcelona, Manchester United and the Dutch National Team and President of Soccer Operations Oliver Wyss. They have decades of experience. Not to mention the weather and lifestyle are some of the best in the world.
“Rangers already has incredibly strong support across North America, and this relationship will help us engage with our existing fanbase in the United States, attract new fans, and provide exciting commercial opportunities. Rangers Academy should also benefit with exciting new talent from America.”
“We are thrilled to join the Rangers family and create this revolutionary bond with one of the most successful clubs in the history of European football,” said OCSC owner James Keston. “In the coming years, we hope to see many members of the OCSC nation on the pitch and in the stands with 50,000 raucous fans at Ibrox. We also hope to make Orange County a second home for the Rangers’ U.S. faithful and their families.”
The Orange County SC partnership is another positive step for Rangers global expansion, following on from the club’s tie-up with Bengaluru FC in India. These relationships will form the key pillars underpinning Rangers international development strategy. The partnership will also see Rangers Soccer Schools join forces with Orange County SC to provide both daily coaching sessions and week-long clinics to boys and girls in the Southern California area.
Southern California players and teams will have the ability to travel to Glasgow and train with Rangers coaches at the Hummel Training Centre. Scottish players and teams will also have the option to travel to OC for clinics, tournaments and soccer-friendly family vacations.
The commercial and media teams at both clubs have formed an alliance focused on identifying mutual sponsorship opportunities and digital content projects on both sides of the Atlantic.
A behind-the-scenes documentary telling the story of the young players crossing over between Orange County and Glasgow is already in development and will be aired during 2020.
“Orange County SC is one of America’s newest and most ambitious professional clubs,” Rangers Sporting Director Ross Wilson said. “It is a club that in the last four years has aimed to become a prime destination for some of the most talented young players from the United States. The training environment is strong and supported by a determined and forward-thinking staff.
“It is our belief that together we can create an effective global player development network while also progressing a number of as well of other football and non-football benefits.”
“Rangers will serve as the aspirational peak of the one of a kind ‘Pathway to Professional Soccer’ that Orange County SC has built for youth soccer players in Southern California,” added Orange County SC President of Soccer Operations Oliver Wyss.