Minnesota United has announced that Adrian Heath will be the club’s coach for the 2017 Major League Soccer season. Heath was most recently head coach of Orlando City and has over 20 years of managerial experience in the U.S. and England.
“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,” said Minnesota United Head Coach Adrian Heath. “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.”
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, winning two league titles, an FA Cup as well as 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 eleven 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 into the 2015 MLS playoffs.
“I firmly believe that Adrian is the best choice to lead this club into our first year in MLS and beyond,” said MNUFC Sporting Director Manny Lagos. “His experience in Orlando City, helping that organization grow and build the right way and the way he immersed himself in the fanbase and in the community was a critical factor in making this decision. We are thrilled to have someone with Adrian’s talents and expertise at this club.”
“We have a great technical staff in place in Manny [Lagos] and Amos [Magee],” said Heath. “Together we are confident we can build a roster that is reflective of our vision, style of play and this community. We are looking for players that will buy in to this mindset and mentality.”
Minnesota United will begin play in MLS in 2017 at the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium. Season ticket packages start at just $335. Don’t miss your chance to be a part of history and join the Itasca Society today by calling 763.4SOCCER or visit mnufc.com.