Ex-Chicago coach Paunovic wins Championship honor; USMNT prospect promoted

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Ex-Chicago Fire manager Veljko Paunovic’s first stop after MLS is off to a flyer.

Paunovic, 43, has been named Football League Championship Manager of the Month for September after starting his career in England with a 4-0 record.

[ MORE: Olsen out as DC United coach ]

Reading has beaten Derby County, Barnsley, Cardiff City, and Watford by a collective score of 7-1.

Paunovic spoke at length on the influence of former teammates Diego Simeone and Fernando Torres, coaching Bastian Schweinsteiger with Chicago and learning big things in MLS during a feature interview with Sky Sports:

“I found a project [at Chicago] with people who were fantastic for my development and very supportive. They gave me the chance to work in a fantastic league that is still growing and expanding, and has incredible resources and potential.

“They mentored me and helped me, and I learned a lot from them. They also guided me and let me make my own decisions and mistakes. That is what I was looking for and I’m very grateful for that. I also led them to one of their best-ever seasons in 2017.”

Paunovic played 17 times for the Philadelphia Union in 2011 at the end of a well-traveled playing career with Atletico Madrid, Tenerife, and Getafe. He led the Serbia U-20s to the 2015 World Cup title before joining Chicago, where he made the playoffs once in five seasons.

Another reason for American fans to keep an eye on Reading? Paunovic has an USMNT prospect in his Premier League 2 side in Augustus McGiff (What a name, by the way).

The 18-year-old former NYCFC Academy graduate joined Reading’s U-19 side in 2019 and scored twice with an assist in eight outings before signing a pro deal and moving up to Premier League 2 this season.

McGiff has a goal in three matches at center forward for the U-23s, scoring the opener in a 2-1 win over Aston Villa on Sept. 25.

He split time as an attacking mid and center forward with the U-19s.

NYCFC has churned out European prospects like Joe Scally (Borussia Monchengladbach), Giovanni Reyna (Borussia Dortmund), and current NYCFC youngsters James Sands and Justin Haak.