Ronny Deila is the new coach in town. Soccer fans are aware of his background and soon the third head coach for New York City FC will look to get them their first MLS Championship.
He succeeds Domenec Torrent. He guided NYCFC to to the MLS East division title last season. The team lost to Toronto in the MLS Eastern Conference finals at Citi Field and came up short for the second straight year,
Coaching, though, is not the reason NYCFC failed to advance. Not anything like other pro sports in this town, Major League Soccer is a league of international talent. Coaches come and go as they are offered lucrative opportunities to take on responsibilities to guide prominent teams that play abroad.
So, NYCFC, once again begins the transition before their official season opener at Yankee Stadium in March,
Deila, a three-time title winning manager at multiple European clubs including Celtic FC in Scotland, joins NYCFC from Norwegian club Vålerenga where he served as manager beginning in 2017. He has signed a three-year contract with the Club and will join NYCFC pending the approval of a U.S. work permit.
After an extensive playing career, most notably at Odds BK in his native Norway, he took charge of Strømsgodset in 2008. Deila won his first trophy in 2010 capturing the Norwegian Football Cup and then led the club to its first league title in 43 years in 2013.
Deila left Strømsgodset for Celtic FC in 2014 and won back-to-back Scottish Premiership titles during his time in Glasgow. Additionally, Deila has managed in both the UEFA Champions League qualifying rounds and UEFA Europa League, and won the Scottish League Cup in 2015.
“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 Tuesday.
“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.”
Sean Johnson, the perennial NYCFC goal tender, will return and that will also help the new coach get off to a good start. The past three seasons, Johnson has led the league in goals saved and become a leader on the field and in the locker room.
NYCFC is set to return nearly 95 percent of last season’s goal scorers as well as four defenders who started more than 24 games from the league’s fourth ranked defense. Club Captain, Alex Ring, and United States Men’s National Team goalkeeper, Johnson, will also be back in 2020.
But it has been the attack of NYCFC teams that has attributed to their success of reaching the MLS postseason the past two years.
“I’m really looking forward to getting going and getting to know the players in preseason and begin my time at NYCFC,” Deila said. “I’m ready to see our supporters and hopefully we’ll have a wonderful relationship. I’m going to do everything I can to play good football the City way and I’ll give everything from myself to the Club and I’m sure we’re going to achieve fantastic things in the future.”
And the future is a key component with the hiring of this new coach. He has a reputation of winning and building a foundation which is important in this league.
NYCFC, the 20th MLS franchise, first to compete in New York City, has had one knock since their inception in 2015 and that has been their inability to retain a coach.
Patrick Vieira, appointed their first coach in March of 2015, guided NYCFC to the Eastern Conference semi-finals in 2017. He left mid-season in 2018 for a lucrative opportunity to manage Nice an elite football club in France.
In his past stops, Deila established a reputation for recognizing and developing young talent. Throughout the past decade, Deila took numerous Manchester City players on-loan at his clubs including Jason Denayer, who is currently vice-captain of Olympique Lyon, Patrick Roberts and Dedryck Boyata.
So, this appears to be the proper move for a team that has goals to go that extra step and bring the MLS Cup home to New York.
NYCFC CEO, Brad Sims, said: “We’re extremely excited to have Ronny join us, and after a thorough coaching search, we’re confident we’ve found the perfect fit for New York City FC. He’s an experienced manager that has succeeded in winning trophies at clubs with high expectations like we have here at NYCFC.”
Deila will take the reins of the Club coming off its best season in franchise history. NYCFC finished atop the Eastern Conference in 2019 and qualified for the Concacaf Champions League for the first time in Club history.
“I think consistency is an important thing,” Deila said. “ Consistency in the way we play and to keep on improving in the City style. The group of players have been here for a while and they’re ready to take the next step together. Winning a title will be a big goal for myself and for the Club.”
He said the expectations are high but that consistency on the sidelines, and In this case retaining a coach is important. The players, and of course that important fan base surely hope they have a long term coach to guide them in the new decade.
“The expectations from the fans are high and I’m going to show them that my expectation is the same,” Diela said. “ We are here to win and that’s why I’m coming because it’s another opportunity to win a title.”
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