By: Logan Alexander
Straight out of college, and straight into his first professional club, defender Michael O’Sullivan has put pen to paper with Jacksonville Armada Football Club. The native of Orlando, FL is twenty-one years old (turns 22 on Saturday) and ventures to North Florida from Palm Beach Atlantic University where he is a senior majoring in Accounting.
O’Sullivan is a center back by trade, a player who started his youth career in the Orlando City Development Academy where he was then signed to the OC U-23 squad in 2013. In fact, O’Sullivan and his then teammate, Tristen Rehrig, were the first two Orlando Academy players to graduate into the under-23 squad in the club’s history. After time with the U-23’s, the defender began his college career at Eastern Florida State College before transferring to Palm Beach Atlantic for his sophomore year. During his two years playing in West Palm Beach, O’Sullivan marked 39 appearances and started at center half for the ‘Fish. While featuring for PBA, O’Sullivan compiled over 3,100 minutes of playing time throughout his sophomore and junior year, scoring one goal in each season. Standing at 6’2, there is plenty of height about him and he is a fairly good player in the air which is an area in which the Fleet have lacked in when bringing defenders into the squad.
Michael O’Sullivan joins the Armada looking for an opportunity to prove his worth. It is worthy to note that this is not a random signing by head coach Mark Lowry. Lowry trained and coached O’Sullivan while they were both at Orlando City and the manager stated that “there is a belief in him(Michael)”. A young player that performed in the lower levels of OCSC now gets a shot at what being a professional is like, a dream come true as the player aspired to be a professional soccer player.
Mechak Jerome, Kalen Ryden, a player in Aaron Pitchkolan that can play both defensive midfield and center back, O’Sullivan joins the Armada with competition in front of him in regards to gaining a starting position within the squad. Also, you wonder whether or not Jacksonville will make any more acquisitions at center-back and the fullback positions. There will be more. At maximum, two more defensive signings will be announced by the team, therefore making the team that much stronger and that much more difficult to break into. In my opinion, Michael O’Sullivan is not starting this year, nor will he get many appearances ahead of a few of the players recently mentioned.
This year is going to be a learning curve for himself as a player on and off of the field. Expect quite possibly a U.S. Open Cup start, maybe a few appearances here and there throughout the season, but nothing absolutely impactful. Or I could be wrong, who knows, but the confidence in Jerome, Ryden, and co. is fairly high as they possess plenty of skill and experience in the American professional environment. Players have breakout years, don’t get me wrong, therefore anything can happen, especially in this sport.
What excites me about this signing is the amount of depth being added to the Jacksonville roster as the previous two years consisted of no depth, especially at the defensive positions. A young player eager to make a name for himself in the big leagues could be a blessing in disguise, so we will have to wait and see what this he is made of once preseason friendlies start kicking into gear. Also on a side note, his birthday is this Saturday as he will be featuring for Jacksonville during the inter squad scrimmage at Patton Park which is pretty cool and should be an exciting day for him making his preseason professional debut on his 22nd birthday. So to that, here’s a special happy birthday to Sully!