Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By DAN KARELL
Jimmy Nielsen won’t have much time to relax during the first few weeks of his retirement from a long playing career.
The former Sporting Kansas City captain and goalkeeper was named the first-ever head coach of Oklahoma City Energy FC, an expansion franchise beginning play in USL Pro next season. It’s the first coaching experience of any kind for the 36-year-old Nielsen, who played his last game as a professional in Sporting Kansas City’s penalty kick shootout victory against Real Salt Lake in the MLS Cup final on Dec. 7.
“My family and I are excited to take on this new challenge and I look forward to the start of my coaching career in Oklahoma City,” Nielsen said in an official statement. “To remain a part of the Sporting Kansas City family and to take some of what I have learned from all of my coaches over the years, including Peter Vermes and staff, is an opportunity I embrace.”
In addition to Nielsen joining Energy FC, the club announced that it will be one of two official affiliates for Sporting KC in 2014, along with Orlando City, which had success acquiring the likes of Dom Dwyer and Jon Kempin on loan as they went on to win the 2013 USL Pro title. Per terms of the agreement, Sporting KC will loan at least two players to Energy FC next season.
Once Orlando City moves to Major League Soccer in 2015, Energy FC will become the sole affiliate of Sporting KC.
What do you think of this news? Surprised to hear Nielsen was hired for the job? Think the Energy should have found someone with coaching experience? Who do you expect to see loaned to Energy FC next season?
Share your thoughts below.