ORLANDO, Fla. (January 26, 2016) - Wilfrid Laurier men’s and women’s soccer assistant coach Niki Budalic has been hired as the Assistant General Manager of Orlando City SC, as announced by the Major League Soccer (MLS) club on Monday.
Budalic, who has worked as a coach with the Golden Hawks for the past seven years, is also a former star player with the men’s team who helped the team win the 2001 CIS Championship.
“I’d like to thank Peter Baxter, BARRY MACLEAN and Mario Halapir for the opportunity they gave me to work at Laurier,” said Budalic after the announcement. “I’ve learned a lot in my seven years with the soccer program which has allowed me to progress to my new role in Orlando. It was special to have the opportunity to work with both the men’s and women’s programs as a coach after playing at Laurier in 2001 and 2002. I wish them, and the rest of the department, all the best moving forward.”
“It’s definitely disappointing to lose someone of Niki’s calibre but this is a fantastic opportunity for him and he will undoubtedly thrive in the role,” commented women’s soccer head coach BARRY MACLEAN. “This hiring speaks volumes about the quality of our program. Orlando City specifically cited his ability to recruit talent and it is outstanding that a MLS team recognizes the work he has done both with Laurier’s women’s team as well as the men’s program.”
A two-time OUA First Team All-Star and a member of the Golden Hawk Hall of Fame, Budalic has served on the coaching staff of the Golden Hawks two most recent OUA Championship wins in women’s soccer, in 2010 and 2013. He also helped Laurier qualify for the CIS Championship in five of his seven years as an assistant coach.
A former professional player for various clubs in North America and Europe, such as FK Haugesund in Norway, Montreal Impact and Toronto Lynx in Canada, Budalic’s vast soccer background extends off the pitch, working as a soccer professional in scouting, recruitment, player representation and consulting.
The holder of a Master’s of Business Administration degree from Wilfrid Laurier, Budalic has also gained tremendous experience working with prominent high-profile clubs, including Newcastle United, Everton Football Club, West Ham United, River Plate, Independiente and Pachuca.
The 37-year-old Waterloo, Ont., native most recently served as the Director of Soccer Operations for Premier Development League (PDL) side Kitchener-Waterloo United FC, who won the 2015 National Championship.
- With files from Orlando City SC