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East-GTA Partnership Driving New League1 Club Alliance United FC Has Orlov In The Manager's Seat

02/09/2018, 3:15pm EST
By League1 Ontario staff

Ilya Orlov, Head Coach Alliance United Football Club (Photo: Laurent Maharaj, Ontario Soccer)

There will be some new faces - and some old faces at some new clubs - in League1 Ontario's 2018 edition, with some exciting new teams recently added to the Ontario pro-am league. 

One such entity is Alliance United FC, an East-GTA partnership between Markham SC, Wexford SC and Centennial College.

Alliance plans to play out of Centennial College and showcase some of the best men's talent from the region, combined with a host of experienced players well-known to League1 supporters.

Alliance has already selected their head coach, and the name is a familiar one.

(Photo: Lauren Maharaj, Ontario Soccer)

29 year-old Ilya Orlov first appeared in League1 as a player, togging out for Vaughan Azzurri in 2014 before making the leap to coaching. 

Orlov was the assistant coach for North Toronto Nitros League1 Ontario side for the 2016 and 2017 League1 seasons and has been an assistant coach for the University of Toronto men's Varsity Blues for three seasons. 

"Tommy Bianchi, the technical director of Markham Soccer Club, was in touch with me to put forth the idea of interviewing for the head coaching job at Alliance Football Club," said Orlov.

"This is a continuation of my coaching path as it will be my first head coaching job at the senior level," he added. 

"I did two years at North Toronto as an assistant coach and I learned so much about how to deal with senior players, building the structure of a program. Also the three years at University of Toronto have been unbelieveably educational." 

"There are two people I need to give credit to - Carmine Isacco, who coached me at York University and gave me my start in coaching and Anthony Capotosto at University of Toronto, who has been given me so much education and I owe so much to him. He has shown me what a professional environment looks like." 

(Photo: Lauren Maharaj, Ontario Soccer)

Orlov explains that Alliance will provide a springboard for the depth of youthful talent currently rostered at partner organizations Markham, Wexford and Centennial, but that the team will be a hybrid with experienced players from around the city. 

"Markham and Wexford have taken a big step in their programs by having a senior team," he said. "This means they are taking their development seriously."

"The team will be a group of Markham players, especially their U21 team, and Wexford also has some talented youth players and men's teams that have gone under the name Hi Profile. These are all players that will be involved with the team. Centennial is also part of the partnership and some of their players will certainly be involved as well." 

"The final piece is players coming in that I've known from my playing days, or later as a coach at North Toronto and University of Toronto. We will have a number of experienced players looking to showcase themselves in the League1 environment with a view to the Canadian Premier League (CPL) coming around the corner, and we're looking for more." 

(Photo: Lauren Maharaj, Ontario Soccer)

Although still in his twenties, Orlov's pathway from player to coaching already has some impressive international experience; he holds an A license from European governing body, UEFA; is in process of obtaining an A license from the Canadian governing body, Canada Soccer; and is focused on creating an environment at Alliance that mirrors themes of performance excellence and professionalism learned at some world leaders in the game.

"Travelling abroad has given me so many different views of how football programs can be run, both good and bad," he said.  

"The place where I got my start [coaching overseas] was at Feyenoord Academy in Rotterdam, Holland. I got to spend two weeks there and from day one I could see what a professional environment looked like. I got to work with some of the top youth coaches in Holland and it gave me a great start. I also learned how to develop youth players to play the type of attacking football that they favour in Holland." 

"After that I visited clubs in the top divisions in Poland, Scandinavia, England and Scotland. Lastly, I visited FC Union Berlin in Germany and I spent two to three months there working in their academy. It was an unbelieveable experience because I got to work on-field with top German coaches and see their system of developing players at both the senior and youth levels within club and also how that connects to the national structure, which is a world leader in its concept and structure."

(Photo: Lauren Maharaj, Ontario Soccer)

Orlov further explains that Ontario-based players interested in pursuing a path to the highest levels of the game, and therefore training regularly in an environment modeled on the professionalism of European clubs, will find a locally-based example at Alliance.  

"Football for me is something that is 24 hours a day," he stated. 

"I devote myself to learning and teaching football all day everyday as this is the only way to develop. It is a full-time pursuit and this is what I want to pass on to the players I work with as well."

"If you want to succeed, this is the example - you don't speak about things, you have to show people things. This is how you inspire the players to be what you envision them to be."

If you are a player interested in trialing with Alliance United FC, email Head Coach Ilya Orlov at:

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