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    Orange County Soccer Club rides enthusiasm into USL Championship playoffs
    • October 20, 2023

    Orange County Soccer Club has experienced some ups and downs recently and this season has been no different.

    In its 10-year anniversary season, OCSC fired its coach early in the campaign and had doubts about its future.

    However, earlier this month, a new deal was reached with the city of Irvine to keep the club at Championship Stadium at Orange County’s Great Park for the next 10 years.

    Five months prior, Morten Karlsen took over as interim coach, replacing Richard Chaplow in May. Karlsen led OCSC from a 1-4-3 record (9 points) to a 17-11-6 mark (57 points) and a second-place finish in the Western Conference.

    OCSC will host El Paso Locomotive FC in Saturday’s first round (7:30 p.m., ESPN+) of the USL Championship playoffs.

    “For any fan supporting a team, it is a roller coaster,” OCSC president of business relations Dan Rutstein said. “In 2021, we embarked on an incredible run to win (the championship) and last year, we followed that up by finishing at the bottom of the league.

    “This year, we turned things around, our coach has done a remarkable job and we finished with the No. 2 seed, guaranteed of playing at home (for the first two rounds).”

    The club also revealed an investment program allowing fans to buy a piece of ownership stake in the club, starting at a minimum investment of $100 up to $25,000.

    “Orange County residents can’t own a piece of the Ducks or Angels, but you can own a piece of your local soccer club,” Rutstein said. “Soccer is growing quickly and we’re part of that growth. We’ve had more sellouts than ever before. We’ve sold two more players to Europe.

    “There’s so much happening and we’re excited to see who wants to be part of the ownership group.”

    Fans in Europe will also get an opportunity to buy an ownership stake. Orange County has partnerships with Rangers in the Scottish Premiership and Feyenoord of the Dutch Eredivisie.

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    El Paso won the first meeting against Orange County 1-0 on April 8. The second one ended in a scoreless draw Sept. 9.

    If Orange County wins Saturday, it would host the winner of the San Diego Loyal SC-Phoenix Rising FC game in the second round.

    “We’re hoping to have a deep run and eventually get a second start on our chest,” Rutstein said.

    ​ Orange County Register