NYCFC names Ronny Deila head coach

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It took two months, but NYCFC finally has its man.

The defending Eastern Conference champions have officially named 44-year-old Ronny Deila as head coach, replacing Dominic Torrent who was let go at the end of the season. The former Celtic boss has signed a three-year contract.

The Norwegian played most of his career in his native Eliteserien (formerly the Tippeligaen), and began his coaching career in Norway as well with clubs Brodd and Stromsgodset. He then was hired by Celtic in 2014 and stayed on for two seasons, winning the Scottish League Cup his first season and the league both years in charge. He fell in the Champions League qualifying stages in both attempts, dropping to the Europa League group stage.

“When the opportunity came up to join New York City FC as their new Head Coach, it was a dream come true for me to manage an amazing Club in a great city,” Deila said in the official club release. “When I come in, it’s important to continue to build on what’s already proven to be a strong foundation and to get some of my ideas across. The way I want to play and the way NYCFC has played is very similar. I’m a very attacking coach. We want to have the ball as much as possible, but also try to be direct when you have those opportunities.”

At the time of Delia’s hire, he was working as manager of Norwegian club Valerenga, with the new season set to begin in April. They finished 10th last year in the 16-team table. The Athletic’s Pablo Maurer, who first reported NYCFC’s interest in Deila, said the final hurdles in negotiations between NYCFC and Deila were working to release him from his contract at Valerenga.

Deila will make his NYCFC debut in late February with the club set to begin CONCACAF Champions League play against Costa Rican side AD San Carlos. His Major League Soccer debut will take place March 1 against the Columbus Crew. After last season, the expectations are high at NYCFC, with the club coming off a first-place finish in the Eastern Conference regular season standings but disappointing in the playoffs after bowing out to four-seed Toronto FC in the conference semifinals.