New York City FC have named legendary midfielder Patrick Vieira as their new manager on a three-year deal.
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The Major League Soccer franchise fired Jason Kreis last week after the former Real Salt Lake boss failed to make the 2015 postseason during the expansion franchise’s first season of existence.
Vieira, 39, has never been in charge of a first team but has been the head coach of the Elite Development Squad at Manchester City after finishing his playing career with the Premier League side.
Speaking about his new job, Vieira had the following to say.
“I am delighted to take up the role of Head Coach of New York City FC. To work with this squad, with Claudio Reyna and Rob Vartughian and the fantastic support team that is in place, is an exciting prospect for any coach,” Vieira said. “This established football set up, together with a passionate and loyal fan base, located in a special city which I know well, makes for an unparalleled opportunity that I am delighted to seize with both hands. I cannot wait to get started.”
The former Arsenal, Juventus, Inter Milan and Man City midfielder enjoyed a glittering career for club and country as he won three English Premier League titles, five FA Cups and three Serie A titles. Plus, he captained the French national team and was part of the squad which won both the 1998 World Cup and the European Championships in 2000.
NYCFC’s sporting director Claudio Reyna had high praise for Vieira as the Bronx-based club now has the big-name coach to go with their big aspirations.
“Patrick was a legendary player and has all the characteristics required to make a fantastic head coach,” Reyna said. “His exemplary drive, passion and dedication have always marked him out as a rare talent and all of those qualities, alongside his understanding of the game, make him a natural choice. Patrick is a natural born leader. He has played under some of the best managers in the world and experienced different leagues and playing styles, enjoying success everywhere he has been. We believe he can bring that knowledge and experience to take New York City FC forward in MLS. We are looking forward to him joining us in the coming weeks.”
His pedigree as a player is undoubted and he has been a member of the City Football Group in Manchester for many years as both an ambassador and a coach, so this decision to replace Kreis with Vieira seems to fit the ethos of owner Sheikh Mansour as NYCFC’s new boss has been promoted from within. Vieira will be in NYC on Tuesday to meet his players and be unveiled, as he will officially start his new role on Jan. 1 2016. He has enjoyed success working with youth players at Man City, as he delivered a Premier League International Cup and his side currently sit top of its group in the UEFA Youth League. Vieira’s appointment will likely see many of Man City’s talented youngsters follow him to the Big Apple with loan deals expected and the ethos of the two clubs will likely grow closer together as his appointment will help mesh the two further.
In the past Vieira has been linked with managerial openings in the Premier League but his first job as a head coach will come in MLS and it will be intriguing to see how the Arsenal legend leads NYCFC on and off the field at Yankee Stadium with their three superstars Frank Lampard, Andrea Pirlo and David Villa together for the entirety of the 2016 MLS season.