Jim McGuinness has landed a plum soccer coaching role in America as head coach of Charlotte Independence of the United Soccer League.
The Glenties man has signed a three year deal and it will be his first Head Coach appointment.
McGuinness will take over the North Caroline Club immediately and will prepare for the 2019 USL season.
The former Donegal All-Ireland winning manager has made the transition from Gaelic manager to coaching soccer, starting with Glasgow Celtic and more recently in China. He has worked hard to gain his coaching badges and now has the chance to put all that information to work on the field.
Speaking to the Irish Times this week, McGuinness said: “That’s the challenge that’s in front of me,” he said on Thursday evening.
“I think I’ve learned a huge amount and tried to be studious in my application from the very first day I walked into Celtic from my experiences of all the managers I worked under.
“At the same time I was trying to build a picture in my own mind of how I saw the game and of how I would like the game to be whenever I became a manager. The other side of that coin is that if you leave the philosophical side of things out of it: football is about people and life is about people.”
The board at the Charlotte Independence were swayed by McGuinness’s track record as a coach and his exceptional win-ratio while with Donegal and are convinced he has acquired sufficient knowledge in the world of soccer to help their club progress. McGuinness says he is “proud of and grateful to” the club for placing its faith in him. One of the initial challenges will involved piecing together a back room staff and squad for 2019 season.
“You’ve got to have a clear vision and know what you want to achieve. But it is about getting the best people and that’s what I’m going to be focusing on: getting the right people and building the roster, as they say in inverted commas. In terms of the type of player and people you want. And I’m looking forward to that because it’s a luxury you don’t have in Gaelic football. You have the people in your community and they represent the county. So to be able to target players… I am looking forward to that.”
The Charlotte Independence joined the USL as an expansion team in 2014 and play in the Eastern Conference, which constitutes a 34 -game season. The club has announced plans to move into a new purpose-built stadium in the city ahead of the 2022 season. McGuinness will attend a press conference in Charlotte on Tuesday. His first game in charge will be on March 8th of next year.