As Orlando City‘s roster continues to take shape, there are a few players that have been held over from the USL Pro team from last year. One of the later signings for the team was coach Adrian Heath’s son, Harrison Heath.
The younger Heath was a late midseason signing to make up for the lack of midfield depth, mostly due to injuries. Although he was only made official halfway through the season, he had been training with the team since the beginning of the year, and even made some appearances in preseason and as the "blond trialist" in some of the friendly games.
Although only 18 years old, Heath was a fairly good contributor to the midfield coming off the bench, and even made a few starts in the seven games that he ended up playing in league play. Throughout his time on the field, his youth was a factor at times. There were some common mistakes and some easy turnovers, however, many of those attributes can be worked on and improved. "Baby Heath," as many fans like to call him, has a very good upside to his game and could be a very good player down the road.
When the official word was announced that he, Luke Boden, and Adama Mbengue would be getting offers for MLS deals, many fans were hurt that some of the other longer term players, such as Rob Valentino or Miguel Gallardo, did not get offers and the coach's son did. Originally, this caused a bit of confusion and pain for the longtime followers of the Lions. However, as time has passed, many of them have begun to understand the long-term plan that Heath's father Adrian has in store for the club.
Heath came to Orlando with experience in multiple youth programs around the U.S and in England. Harrison played for Norwich City’s youth program for the past two years and was able to win the 2013 FA Youth Cup with the team. He also had experience with the Houston Dynamo youth program from when his family lived in Texas, as well as the Orlando City U-23 squad. Heath also has a U.S green card, which allows him to take up a domestic roster spot, rather than an international one.
Come March for Harrison, he may spend his year with Orlando’s USL affiliate, Louisville City, to further his development. After spending a full year playing professionally, fans and coaches alike will be able to get a much better idea of where he is going in his career. At only 18 years of age, Harrison Heath has plenty of time and ability to grow with Orlando City.