January 15, 2017
HOPING TO GET COURAGE
Riley says negotiations going well to coach North Carolina
By Michael Lewis
|Paul Riley: "We're pretty confident of getting the deal done."
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
LOS ANGELES -- Paul Riley is keeping his fingers crossed, hopeful that a deal will be worked out to continue coaching the National Women's Soccer League defending champions.
Riley's situation with the club got complicated after the Western New York moved and became the North Carolina Courage last Monday.
"We're pretty confident of getting the deal done," Riley said.
Riley, a former standout soccer player at Adelphi and amateur soccer in the New York area, ran the draft with technical director Charlie Naimo.
"Obviously the last 48 hours we got close to having the deal done or otherwise we probably wouldn't have the draft to be honest with you," Riley said at the NWSL draft Thursday.
The Bay Shore, N.Y. resident said that he had been negotiating with Courage president Curt Johnson "just trying to sort out different situations with the contract, making sure it works for them and it works for me, too."
"The contract I had in Western New York worked for me," he said. "It's a matter of making it work in Raleigh. If it couldn't work for them, we couldn't get to that point. I think we're working through it and hopefully, we'll get it done as soon as possible."
Riley felt it was vital for him to attend the draft at the Los Angeles Convention Center for several reasons.
"I wanted to be here," he said. "Me and Charlie talked about the draft a lot. We've worked together a lot of the last year together. I think it was important to be here. It's nice for the draft choices, too. It's nice to know who their coaches are going to be. At least I met them. If it's the only time I met them, then it is what it is. We're pretty confident of getting the deal done."
The Courage selected four players the college draft -- forward Ashley Hatch (Brigham Young University), forward Darian Jenkins (UCLA), defender Claire Wagner (Clemson) and forward Jaycie Johnson (Nebraska) as the second, seventh, 20th and 27th picks respectively.
"The two players we really wanted we got, we ended up with an extra pick and that obviously made a trade. It's a future pick.
"Claire -- we're a little light there [on defense]. She'll give us good cover there. She played for Clemson and won the ACC. In terms of the first two picks, Hatch was the one we wanted. We figured Lavelle would go No. 1."
Riley was referring to University of Wisconsin midfielder Rose Lavelle, who was selected by the Boston Breakers as the very first pick of the draft.
"I don't think she's that far from the national team," he added of Hatch. "She's been in with the full team already. I know Jill [Ellis, national coach] likes her a lot. She is in a good environment for her to play. She's coming into a great forward."