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Jaziel Orozco On Learning At Larne, Real Salt Lake, And MLS

Jaziel Orozco On Learning At Larne, Real Salt Lake, And MLS

An interview with Jaziel Orozco, by Callum McFadden for WFi.

You joined NIFL Premiership side Larne on loan from MLS side Real Salt Lake in the summer of 2023. How do you reflect on your time at the club so far and how have you adapted to life in Northern Ireland?

“I am absolutely loving my time at Larne because it is a great club that wants to play football the right way and be successful.

“We have a very good manager in Tiernan Lynch with strong coaches alongside him in Seamus Lynch and Gary Haveron who I am learning a lot from on the training field each day.

“They are doing a great job at the club as has been shown with the success that Larne have experienced in recent years with the league championship victory last season amongst other successes.

“The adaptation to life in Northern Ireland took a little bit of time because things are very different from Salt Lake City to Larne in terms of the climate, the accent, the way that people spend their free time and even the fact that you drive on the left side of the road here.

“Football wise, the style of football is also different from MLS to NIFL as things are more physical with greater emphasis on tackling and man-to-man play at times.

“However, at Larne, we always look to play attacking football with possession which is a reflection on the coaching staff and the quality of players that we have here. We have scored goals in most of our games, and we are never afraid to get on the ball and play our game even at tough away venues throughout the league.

“It feels great to be playing regularly and I am also learning a lot from my teammates too.”

The club produced a four-part documentary titled ‘We are Larne’ and the first episode focused on your time at the club so far. What was it like being featured in such a way at the age of 19?

“It was a really interesting experience and a good learning experience for me because as a footballer, you need to get used to being in front of the camera whether that be pre- or post-match during interviews or by playing live on TV.

“It was nice to be able to talk about my journey so far and highlight what is going on at the club too.

“For a young player like myself, getting experience of working with the media is important as well as my playing experience because it is part and parcel of football across the world.”

I have to ask you about your squad number which is 99. It is one of those numbers that stands out on any teamsheet. What inspired you to select it?

“It’s a funny story. My dad was a professional footballer and he used number 99 at times during his career.

“I used to watch him play when I was growing up and after he retired, he coached my youth teams as a 13/14-year-old, and I would wear it then as a nod to my dad and the career that he had.

“So, when I turned professional, it was always my intention to wear the number 99 shirt and as you say, it is not the most common number which means that it stands out which is a good thing too.

“I love wearing it on my back because, for us, it is a number that means a lot to our family, and I hope to continue wearing it for many years ahead.”

Before joining Larne on loan, you played in MLS at Real Salt Lake and in USL with Real Monarchs. How would you reflect on those experiences?

“Those experiences were great, and I owe a lot to Real Salt Lake for my development in recent years.

“I played regularly at Real Monarchs in the USL before moving up to represent Real Salt Lake in MLS and I loved every moment of those times.

“There is a consistent pathway to the first team at the club and my work rate and dedication paid off as I made it to the first team and played in MLS at 17 years old.

“It was such an amazing experience to be able to do that and hopefully I can have more experiences like those in the future.”

Finally, Jaziel, what do you hope to achieve in the remainder of your loan spell with Larne and in the forthcoming years of your career?

“My main objective is to win as many games of football as I can.

“I am playing regularly which was the first aim for me when I arrived, and I want us to be able to win as many games of football as possible in order to compete for trophies.

“We are due to play in the County Antrim Shield final in the coming weeks and that will be one of my first finals as a professional so I hope that I can win silverware while I am at the club.

“The team won the league last season, and everyone is working as hard as we can to retain the title. We know that it will not be easy, but we will do everything that we can to achieve that objective and that is my main focus between now and the end of the season.

“In terms of the years ahead in my career, all I want to do is work as hard as I can to be the best possible player and person that I can be.

“I want to play football and win as much as I can and that will always be my aim as a footballer. I love what I do, and I am motivated to do everything within my power to succeed.”

Featured image courtesy of Larne FC.