January 30, 2017
A NEW LIFE FOR RILEY
Courage names Paul Riley head coach
By Michael Lewis
|Paul Riley: "Obviously last year was memorable, but we all understand we are entering a new market and the joy with any season is in the doing of the tasks and in the journey itself, however long or difficult."
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Paul Riley will get an opportunity to coach the defending National Women's Soccer League champions.
The Bay Shore, N.Y. native Monday morning was named the first coach of the North Carolina Courage, the NWSL club announced.
The Courage played as the Western New York Flash in 2016, winning the league championship.
“We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Paul,” Courage president and general manager Curt Johnson said. “The success that he’s had throughout his career speaks for itself, in particular, winning the championship last year. He likes great attacking soccer, and that’s something that we are excited to bring to the Triangle.”
Riley directed the Flash to the NWSL crown as the team overcame the Washington Spirit in a shootout after playing to a 2-2 draw over 120 minutes.
"I’m extremely excited and humbled to be the first head coach of the Courage,” Riley said. “Sincere thanks to Steve and Curt for this brilliant opportunity. Obviously last year was memorable, but we all understand we are entering a new market and the joy with any season is in the doing of the tasks and in the journey itself, however long or difficult. The challenge will be embraced by all of us, and we look forward to pushing our limits, believing in the process and bringing quality football to one of the true fabulous soccer area's in the country."
A native of Liverpool, England, the 53-year-old Riley guided the Portland Thorns in 2014 and 2015. He also directed the Philadelphia Independence of the now-defunct Women’s Professional Soccer to consecutive championship game appearances in 2010 and 2011. He was named WPS coach of the year in 2010 and 2011.
Riley has a long history of success at many levels. He led the Long Island Fury to the Women's Premier League crown in 2006 and 2009 (he was named WPSL coach of the year in 2009). During his four-year tenure as coach, the Fury won the Eastern Conference title en route to a 48-6-8 mark.
During his time with the Fury and the Albertson Soccer Club, he coached several future players who have moved onto the U.S. youth and senior national teams and the NWSL. That includes 2015 NWSL MVP and scoring champion Crystal Dunn, who recent signed with the Chelsea Ladies in England and Allie Long, who stars for the Thorns and was an MVP finalist last season.
Riley coached at C.W. Post from 1991-1997 and was named New York coach of the year in 1991. With a 98-48-11 record, Riley was NYCAC coach of the year five times.
After moving onto the Long Island Rough Riders, in 1997, Riley directed the side to the 2002 USL PRO title.
Not surprisingly, Riley brings impressive playing credentials as well. While performing for New York Atlas, Glen Cove and Hercules he was considered by many to be the best amateur and semi-pro player on Long Island. He also played professional for the New Jersey Eagles, Albany Capitals and Rough Riders, helping the latter captured the 1995 U.S. Interregional Soccer League crown.
“We hope to give the fan base an exciting, hungry team and a style of play they will enjoy and embrace. Team and staff are looking forward to meeting and developing a fan base to compete with the best in the sport,” Riley said.
The Courage will kick off regular season play at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. in April.