In November 2016, Minnesota announced that Heath would be the club’s coach for the 2017 Major League Soccer season. Heath was most recently head coach of Orlando City SC and has over 20 years of managerial experience in the U.S. and England. In 2019, Heath led Minnesota United to its first MLS Cup Playoff appearance, the final of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and continued that success with semifinal appearances in 2020 in the MLS is Back tournament and MLS Cup Playoffs. Heath is one of two coaches in MLS to lead their squad to the past four postseasons.
Hailing from Staffordshire, England, Heath enjoyed an 18-year professional soccer career before entering into coaching. The midfielder’s journey began with Stoke City and included a notable career at Everton, where he scored 71 goals in 226 appearances, won two league titles, an FA Cup and a UEFA Cup Winner’s Cup in 1985. In 1989, Heath went on to play for Espanyol in Spain, then returned to England to play for Manchester City and Burnley, where he eventually transitioned into the role of player-manager in 1996.
The Englishman spent the next 11 years coaching in England for clubs such as Burnley, Sheffield United and Coventry City, before a chance encounter with Phil Rawlins brought him to the United States in 2008. Rawlins, the former Stoke City director, met with Heath in his hometown of Newcastle-under-Lyme, where the two discussed Rawlins’ dream of setting up a football club in the U.S., and — serendipitously for Heath — Rawlins needed a manager.
Heath accepted the role and was named the Head Coach of the Austin Aztex, Rawlins’ USL expansion franchise. The team spent two years in Austin, before relocating to Orlando in 2010, becoming Orlando City.
In just four years under Heath in its new city, Orlando City won two USL Pro championships and three Commissioner’s Cups. The USL club under Heath also tallied two U.S. Open Cup victories over MLS opposition. Orlando City launched into Major League Soccer in 2015 and Heath’s influence helped build the club for a very successful inaugural MLS season. The club finished seventh in the Eastern Conference, falling just short of clinching a berth in the 2015 MLS playoffs.