Louisville City Football Club is an American professional soccer club based in Louisville, Kentucky. The team plays in the USL Championship, known through the 2018 season as the United Soccer League (USL), which is currently the second tier of the American soccer pyramid.
The club was founded in 2014 after Orlando City's USL team franchise rights were relocated to Louisville and played their first USL season in 2015. After reaching the Eastern Conference finals of the USL playoffs in both its first two seasons, the club went on to win the 2017 USL Cup in only its third season of existence. In 2018, they repeated as champions, becoming the first team to win back-to-back USL Cup championships.
In early 2014, the owners of Orlando City's USL team, encouraged by minority owner Wayne Estopinal, met with city of Louisville officials to explore moving the team that would be displaced by Orlando's new MLS franchise. Estopinal became the majority owner and the club formally announced their relocation to Louisville in June 2014. Orlando City SC held a minority ownership stake in Louisville City FC during the latter's inaugural campaign in 2015, and Louisville City featured as the Lion's USL affiliate team.
The club maintained the colors of the Orlando City franchise, and installed former Orlando City player-coach James O'Connor as its first manager.
Beginning with the 2016 season, Orlando City SC ended its affiliation with LCFC and began operating the Orlando City B USL team. Orlando City SC plans to maintain ties with Louisville.
In the summer of 2018, James O'Connor stepped back as manager in order to take the head coaching position at MLS club Orlando City SC. James O'Connor left the team with a 71–28–26 record and a USL Cup win from the previous season, along with the first ever franchise win over an MLS team against the New England Revolution in the 2018 U.S. Open Cup Tournament. The team was then coached under the triumvirate of three players, George Davis IV, Paolo DelPiccolo, and Luke Spencer. On August 2, 2018, John Hackworth was appointed as the team's second-ever head coach. On November 8, the team made USL history by becoming the first team to repeat as champions of the league. The team defeated Phoenix Rising FC 1–0.
On November 30, 2018, minority owner and key founder, Wayne Estopinal, died in a plane crash on the way from the Louisville area to Chicago.
The following season, Louisville City made it to their third consecutive USL championship game but failed to complete the first ever "threepeat", falling 3–1 against Real Monarchs SLC, the USL affiliate of the MLS' Real Salt Lake.
On January 13, 2020, it was announced that James O'Connor would be returning to the organization after being fired from Orlando City SC in October 2019. This time he will serve as executive vice president of development where he will oversee the establishment of the team's youth soccer academy. O'Connor will also help with hiring staff for the new National Women's Soccer League team planned to begin play in Louisville in 2021.
Hackworth and the club mutually agreed to terminate his contract on April 27, 2021. Technical director Danny Cruz was appointed as interim head coach.