Minnesota United announced today the club has signed a new contract with Head Coach Adrian Heath that could keep Heath with MNUFC through 2022 and will provide an increased role in player personnel decisions for the first team.
“We have huge aspirational goals for our entire soccer operations department,” said MNUFC CEO Chris Wright. “We had a plan and timeline for how we wanted to develop this team starting out and we wanted to give Adrian and our soccer operations the time to implement the strategies that we have all put in place. Last year was a success any way that you measure it and we knew Adrian and his staff were still the right choice to help us keep developing our club. We are all working hard to make sure that our club moves in the right direction and our vision for the club is successful. We see Adrian and his staff as being a big part of this.”
Heath joined MNUFC in November of 2016 as the club’s first MLS coach ahead of Minnesota’s inaugural season in 2017. After three seasons in Minnesota, the Englishman has a 36-49-17 MLS record and 27-13-11 home record; however, a complete turnaround in 2019 showed Heath leading MNUFC to a club record 53 points, 4th place in the Western Conference, one of the best defensive turnarounds in league history, a spot in the MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time and the final of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Heath has been named Coach of the Week twice during his tenure with MNUFC, in Week 5 of 2017 and Week 30 of 2019.
“I’m delighted to get it sorted and really excited about where we can go from what we’ve just done,” said MNUFC Head Coach Adrian Heath. “It’s well documented that the first two years were a struggle but we always talked about having a three-year plan and we’ll see where we are at the end of the three years. When I look back at the year, making the Open Cup Final, getting a home playoff game, being disappointed to lose to a team like the LA Galaxy who spend all the money they do and the players they have, it shows you how far we’ve come. The most important thing is we have to push on now, we can’t rest on what we’ve done. Yes, last year was good, but we have to make this year even better. We’ve all been all over the world looking at players and we feel as though we need two or three spots now to take us to that next level and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Prior to arriving in Minnesota, Heath coached Orlando City SC for two seasons in MLS and four in USL, where Orlando won two USL Pro championships and three Commissioner’s Cups. His U.S coaching career began in Austin for the Austin Aztex in 2009. The team spent two years in Austin before relocating to Orlando in 2010, becoming Orlando City SC. Heath spent 11 years coaching in England for clubs such as Burnley, Sheffield United and Coventry City.
“I’ve loved my time in Minnesota,” added Heath. “I’ve said on numerous occasions, this is the best place I’ve been to live since I’ve been in the States. I’m very happy, not only on the field, but off the field as well. Now, let’s get back to the hard work of trying to keep driving the club forward and that’s what we have to do every single day, every single month and this time next year, let’s hope we can say that we’ve progressed from last year and if we do, we’re heading in the right direction.”
Hailing from Staffordshire, England, Heath enjoyed an 18-year professional soccer career before entering into coaching. The attacker’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.
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