Sporting KC have announced they will take on a second USL Pro affiliate for the coming season, with former goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen at the helm.
The 36-year-old will serve as the head coach of newly-formed Oklahoma City Energy FC, who join Orlando City SC as affiliate teams of Sporting KC.
The agreement states KC must keep a minimum of two players out on loan to each affiliate at all times.
OKC Energy FC began its formation officially back in July, and is owned by Prodigal LLC with CEO Bob Funk, Jr in control.
“We are pleased to affiliate with Sporting KC during our first season of play,” said Funk. “Our partnership with them in this endeavor is groundbreaking. This relationship starts with Jimmy Nielsen as our head coach and a number of quality players that Sporting KC will provide, but also extends beyond the field of play and into all of our soccer business interests for the long term.”
This new affiliation could be the start of a long-term relationship, given that Orlando City SC will join Major League Soccer in 2015, and the opportunity to secure a replacement affiliate now was tempting.
Nielsen’s brand new coaching career begins less than a month after his penalty-kick heroics helped Sporting KC capture the 2013 MLS Crown.
The Danish keeper is excited about taking his experiences across a 19-year professional career and putting them to use in a coaching role. “To remain a part of the Sporting Kansas City family and to take some of what I have learned from all of my coaches over the years, including Peter Vermes and staff, is an opportunity I embrace,” Neilson told Sporting KC’s official website.