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Orange County SC announces departure of Head Coach Morten Karlsen to Danish SuperLiga club Lyngby Boldklub

By Staff, 06/25/24, 11:30AM EDT


OCSC Assistant Coach and IDP Manager Paul Hardyman to serve as interim head coach for club

Orange County SC has announced the departure of Head Coach Morten Karlsen to becomme the manager of Danish SuperLiga club Lyngby Boldklub. | Photo courtesy Isaiah J. Downing / Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC

IRVINE, Calif. – Orange County SC announced on Tuesday the departure of Head Coach Morten Karlsen, who will return to his native Denmark to become the new manager of Danish SuperLiga club Lyngby Boldklub effective immediately.

Karlsen’s move to Lyngby BK, for which OCSC has received compensation, is another success story for the club’s Pathway to Europe program, which has now seen six players and Karlsen move to top European leagues in the club’s history.

OCSC Assistant Coach and IDP Manager Paul Hardyman, who has been with the club since the club’s 2021 title-winning year, will take over as interim Head Coach with immediate effect.

A native of Copenhagen, Karlsen made USL Championship history a season ago in becoming the first coach to win the league’s Coach of the Month award in consecutive months (July-August 2023). The 45-year-old led OCSC’s rise from 11th position at the time of his appointment last May to a second-place finish in the Western Conference.

The Black and Orange achieved a 22-13-6 record (.610 win percentage, 1.76 points per game) under Karlsen’s tenure, including a club-record winning streak of eight straight wins from July-September 2023.

“I want to thank Morten for what he's done for Orange County Soccer Club,” said OCSC President of Soccer Operations and General Manager Peter Nugent. “As a club, our aim has always been to help our players showcase their talents and realize their dreams of competing at the highest levels in Europe, this also applies to our coaching staff as well.

“What Morten achieved last year, leading the club to a second-place finish in the regular season and the conference semifinals attracted attention from a number of clubs and whilst we are sad to see him leave, we are pleased to see him taking the helm of a top division Danish team in his homeland, which was always a dream of his. We wish him all the best in his new role and look forward to following his continued success."

Karlsen joined Orange County SC in February 2023 after completing a stint on the technical team of the Danish National Team at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Prior to joining the Danish staff, Karlsen was an assistant at AGF in the Danish Superliga and head coach of second division side HB Køge and the FC Nordsjælland U-19s. He made over 300 appearances in defensive midfield during his playing career, appearing most notably for FC Nordsjælland and Lyngby BK.

“I’d just like to thank the fans here in Orange County. They have been so supportive of me and the boys since the first day I arrived,” said Karlsen. “We’ve created some great memories together and I don’t think we would have the run we did last year without the support you gave us.

“I also would like to thank our owner James [Keston] and our General Manager Peter Nugent, for allowing me to have the opportunity to coach Orange County. I will be forever grateful for that. The club is in great hands and I will always have Orange County in my heart.

“To the players, staff, front office and fans: sincerely, thank you.”

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