Leeds United F.C. Director of Football, Victor Orta, in conversation with Steve Walsh, Charlotte MLS and members of the Association of Sporting Directors about his journey and current role.
The conversation was different from the usual public conversation we are seeing promoted widely – it was both personal and humble. The key areas were covered:
- The responsibilities of football leaders
- Adapting to English football
- Pressure, expectations and contingency planning at Leeds United F.C.
The talk with a reflection of Victors career to date, highlighting his love and obsession for the game tied with various experiences from punditry, agency, and completion of a chemistry degree prior to his first role in professional football as Director of Football at Real Valladolid.
He highlighted the importance of the sporting director role in a club, to ‘bridge the gap’ between each department across both football and business elements of the club to create an alignment, which he believes is key for success as a sporting director.
Reflecting on his position, Victor outlined the detail behind and need to oversee the transition of the three, five and seven year plan at Leeds United F.C. across the entire club. To ensure Leeds United F.C. continues to progress into a better position than upon his arrival.
Victor shared with Steve how he settled into England, comparing both Spain and England and how he had to adapt to a different culture, various styles of play and political differences from his time in Spain. This led to Victor highlighting how his approach to the players has also changed over time, emulating distance is key; not too close and equally, not too far away.
The conversation covered dealing with the pressure and expectations from the fans and club, the need to delegate trust with staff to maintain a high performance culture, even during seismic challenges such as COVID-19.
Player development, improving the environment and recruitment all featured heavily, as outlined the clubs strategy to improve across different aspects of football performance. Undoubtedly, this include Victors extensive contingency planning for next season, based on two scenarios; promotion to the premier league, or remaining in the championship – both holding significance for the club..
The ASD aims to support sporting directors in professional football. These conversations allow members to connect, share practice, develop ideas and innovate. The full conversation is available to ASD members. We are thankful to Victor Orta and Steve Walsh for a fascinating discussion.