Forever a Lion: Catching up with Carl Woszczynski

This is part of an ongoing series following up with players who were contributors to Orlando City SC in USL PRO but did not continue on with the MLS squad. We understand that soccer is a business, and respect that both teams and players must occasionally part ways. However, since 2011, Orlando City has been more than a team; it’s been a family. Even though these players have moved on, they will always be a part of that.

Exciting news broke this week for former Orlando City keeper Carl Woszczynski, as it was announced that he had signed with USL PRO side Arizona United FC. We thought it would be the perfect opportunity to sit down with ‘Woz’ and get his thoughts on the move to Arizona and his reflections on his time with Orlando City.

At 26, the University of Alabama-Birmingham product is still young by keeper standards. Standing 6-foot-5 tall, the left-footer certainly has the build to be an effective netminder. He was the third keeper selected in the 2012 MLS Supplemental Draft, and has spent time with the Los Angeles Blues and Orlando City in USL PRO since then. He may not be very far from a return to MLS in Arizona though. Our friends at BigDSoccer.com are reporting that Arizona United will become the official USL PRO affiliate of FC Dallas.

To say Carl Woszczynski was an integral part of Orlando City’s time in USL PRO might be a bit of a stretch. The keeper joined the team for the 2014 season, and spent the majority of it as a backup to long-time starter Miguel Gallardo. He appeared in four regular season matches for Orlando and also started in the 1-0 playoff loss against Harrisburg that would be Orlando’s last match in USL PRO.

It’s perhaps even more telling then, that the man the fans call “Woz” was able to ingratiate himself to the supporters to such a degree, despite limited time on the field. His imposing figure is offset by his humility and easy-going nature. He’s definitely worth a follow on Twitter, (@CWOZ1) if you’re into that sort of thing. I managed to catch up with Carl the day before he left for Maui on his honeymoon with his lovely wife. Here’s our interview:

Looking back, what are your thoughts on your time with Orlando City?

Carl Woszczynski: I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Orlando City. I think it was definitely the high point of my career so far. As soon as Orlando contacted me and my agent after the 2013 season, we jumped on the opportunity. It is a great organization from top to bottom, from ownership to coaches to players. Everyone at the club truly cared for it as their own family. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out for many of us moving on to the MLS with the club, but that’s part of the business we all signed up for.

What would you like to say to the Orlando City fans?
CW: Thank you, thank you, thank you! I still believe they are the best fans I’ve ever played in front of. They passionately supported us through the highs and lows. To this day, I still have fans reaching out to me, congratulating me on signing with Arizona United and wishing me good luck this year and in my career, even saying they hope to see me back in Orlando with the MLS team one day.

How did you end up signing with Arizona United? Where do you see your career going from here?
CW: Only hours after word got out about all of the player releases, Coach Michael Dellorusso reached out to me. He said he already had great conversations with Adrian Heath about me, and asked if I would be interested in playing in Arizona next season. I had a handful of options from contract offers to trials at all different levels, but in the end, my wife and I decided that Arizona United would be the best option for 2015. I don’t like to think too far in the future, so right now my goal is to play the best I can to help Arizona United be the best team we can be. If I do these things, more long-term goals, such as MLS, will sort themselves out.

Any favorite moments from your time at City?
CW: I would definitely have to say winning championships! First, the I-4 Derby, followed by the USL PRO Regular Season Championship. These were my first two professional trophies, so they will always be special to me.

A special thanks to Carl Woszczynski for taking the time to talk with us. We wish him the best of luck in Arizona this year.
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