The Charlotte Independence of the United Soccer League (USL) has announced that Jim McGuinness has been appointed as its new head coach on a 3-year contract. McGuinness will take over with immediate effect as he begins planning for the 2019 USL Championship season.
The move sees McGuinness make the unique cross-over from coaching at championship level in one sport another code.
This is McGuinness’ first appointment as a head coach in professional club football having made the switch to the sport after enjoying a hugely successful time in management in Gaelic football. His record included winning the 2012 All-Ireland senior football title with Donegal.
Just six weeks after that success he was appointed by Celtic FC as Performance Consultant at the Glasgow giants with Neil Lennon at the helm. Under the reigns of Ronnie Delia and Brendan Rogers he proceeded to coach at U-16, U-19 and U-20 levels.
In 2017 he then moved to China to take up the position as assistant-coach to ex-Bayer Leverkusen and Red Bull Salzburg coach Roger Schmidt with Beijing Sinobo Guoan FC in the Chinese Super League.
Commenting on his new position Jim McGuinness said; “I am very excited about the prospect of taking up the head coach role at the Charlotte Independence and am both proud and grateful to the club for having put its faith in me. I knew from early on in our discussions that the club and I shared a vision for what we want to achieve and now it’s about everybody involved working hard to make that happen.
“I have learned a great deal already about the USL and firmly believe we can be really competitive in the USL Championship in 2019. It’s an exciting time for the game in the United States which is growing all the time and I believe the Charlotte Independence will have a major influence in the years to come.”
Welcoming Jim McGuinness to the Charlotte Independence, Club President Jim McPhilliamy said; “Jim has a proven track record as both a coach who gets the best out of players and also as a winner. That is a very appealing combination and once we knew there was a possibility of bringing him to the Charlotte Independence we were very excited about the prospect and are delighted to have him on board.
“With Jim as Head Coach and our experienced management team, we believe we are now ideally positioned to compete strongly in the USL Championship in 2019 and beyond.”
The Charlotte Independence plays in the Eastern Conference of the USL Championship. The USL is North America's largest professional soccer organisation, overseeing the USL Championship, USL League One and USL League Two. Over 100 clubs participate across the three divisions with massive growth of 95% in attendance between 2014 and 2018. 2.8 million tickets were sold for games in 2018 which is an increase of a third from 2017.
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