Ahead of their arrival into Major League Soccer in 2017, Minnesota United has announced they have a new head coach: Adrian Heath.
Heath, 55, will lead United in their inaugural season in MLS, and he is no stranger to coaching an expansion franchise.
Heath takes over from Englishman Carl Craig who led Minnesota to fifth place in their final season in the North American Soccer League (NASL) before the move to MLS.
Heath took charge of Orlando City SC in 2010 and led them to MLS after dominating the USL (they won three Commissioners Cups in four seasons).
Although he was eventually dismissed from his position midway through the 2016 MLS season, his legacy at Orlando remains as he helped develop a true soccer culture in the the Floridian city and pretty much helped set up the club from scratch after it moved from Austin, Texas in 2010.
Now he has the chance to do something very similar with Minnesota and is very excited about doing so, alongside sporting director Manny Lagos.
“I’ve known Manny for a long time and he’s always spoke so fondly about what’s going on in Minnesota, and obviously when the job became available I spoke to Manny and jumped at the chance,” Heath said. “The most important thing for me is they have a project and a real plan in place. Dr. McGuire and this club have big ambitions, you look at the stadium that’s going to be built in a couple of years, all incredible things to look forward to, but my job now is to make sure that we’re competitive from day one. All of those other things are going to be great but it’s what’s going on on the field that’s most important and that’s where I’m going to be focusing my energy toward in the next two months.”
United will begin play in MLS in 2017 at the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium, but their own soccer specific stadium is on the way in Midway and should be ready for the start of the 2018 season.
Minnesota joins MLS in 2017 along with another expansion franchise, Atlanta United, taking the number of MLS clubs to 22.