TAMPA, Fla. – The USL Championship announced on Wednesday that Orange County SC’s Morten Karlsen had been voted as the league’s Coach of the Month for August. Karlsen earned his second consecutive monthly award as Orange County went a perfect four wins from four in the past month, defeating some of the top clubs in the league as it continued to surge up the Western Conference standings.
Karlsen is the first coach to win the USL Championship’s Coach of the Year award in consecutive months since it was first introduced for the 2018 season. OCSC’s victories came on the road against Western Conference rivals San Diego Loyal SC and Sacramento Republic FC, currently the conference leader, and at home against Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC and the Charleston Battery, both of which at the time sat as the top two teams in the Eastern Conference.
“I’m very proud and honored to win again, and being the first one in the USL history is a little bit humbling,” said Karlsen. “It’s a special feeling to get such an achievement and it makes me proud, but as I said the first time, it's an individual prize in a team sport, so all the credit goes to the players who have done an amazing job. And, of course, to the staff as well.”
Since Karlsen’s appointment on May 2, Orange County SC has moved from 11th place in the Western Conference standings to currently sit in third place having gone 13-5-2 under the Dane’s leadership. That mark includes a club-record eight-game winning streak, which tied for the fifth-longest in USL Championship regular season history, that ended this past Saturday in a 0-0 draw against El Paso Locomotive FC. OCSC’s active nine-game undefeated streak is its longest in the Championship regular season in its 13-season history.
Bringing extensive experience from his prior coaching career, including being part of the technical staff for Denmark at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Karlsen believes his approach combined with the connection he has made with the players has helped push the side toward its current success.
“I attribute my success to tactics and how I want to play as a coach, which is ultimately the finding of what a team looks like,” said Karlsen. “I think you can tell a coach by looking at his team, and I’m happy to see an attack minded team. My contribution has been, of course, the technical part of it, as well the mental part of it, and the connection with the players, I think it’s a special connection I have with them.”
Karlsen earned 79 percent of the ballot to claim the award. Indy Eleven’s Mark Lowry finished second on 11 percent as he led his side to a five-game undefeated streak to end the month, winning four times to solidify their position in the playoff places in the Eastern Conference as the side tied for the league-lead with 11 goals in August.
The USL Championship’s Coach of the Month award is voted upon by the USL Championship National Media Panel and the USL Championship Technical Committee, with each group responsible for 50 percent of the overall vote.