Michael Orozco Returns Home to Play with Orange County Soccer Club

Michael Orozco with General Manager Oliver Wyss. Photo courtesy of Orange County SC/Liza Rosales

Michael Orozco with General Manager Oliver Wyss. Photo courtesy of Orange County SC/Liza Rosales

Michael Orozco, 33, is an Orange County native and started his youth career in Irvine with the Irvine Strikers, but most of his successful playing career happened south of the border. Orozco, who plays on the back line, spent time with San Luis FC, a now defunct team from the top flight in Liga MX. He played for the Philadelphia Union and Puebla in Liga MX while on loan from San Luis. He was on the 2015 Puebla team that won the Copa MX, the league cup for Liga MX. He signed with Club Tijuana in 2015 where he played several seasons before going out on loan to Lobos BUAP.

Orozco has also played for the US Men’s National Team. He was on the U-23 team that qualified for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. He was also named in the Best XI of the 2008 CONCACAF Men's Olympic Qualification All-Tournament Team. He started in all three games for the US team in China. He was also on the 2013 Gold Cup winning roster, scoring a goal in the group stages. This was not his most famous goal for the USMNT. That goal came in a friendly against the rival Mexican National Team at the Estadio Azteca. That goal was the winning goal in a 1-0 victory, the first ever win on Mexican soil.

Michael said of his return to Irvine, “it’s great. I’ve been playing in Mexico for about 15 plus years. Just coming home, knowing that there is a professional team here it’s very exciting.” He still has family in the area. “It was easy, being closer to our parents and I have three kids and I didn’t have any doubts in my my mind.”

He also spoke of what his future role might be, not with just the team, but being a role model to they younger players in the area. He said he wants to “guide other young players and know that with the Orange County team is a step into a professional level and try to help them succeed in any way I can. They don’t have to go to Mexico or Europe, that they can start playing at a professional level here in Orange County and it should get other people involved and it’s good to be a part of it.”

The physical defender can play both in the center and on the right. He is also known for his heading ability, and he scored several big goals for the USMNT on set pieces. He has made over 300 appearances logging 9 goals and 7 assists since his debut for San Luis in 2006. He also has 29 caps and 4 goals in his international career.