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Dynamo hire former Wigan, Bolton boss Coyle as head coach

OwenCoyleWigan2-Barnsley2013 (Getty)


The Houston Dynamo are bucking the trend of hiring young American managers to fill head coaching vacancies.

The Dynamo announced on Tuesday morning that they’ve hired veteran Scottish manager Owen Coyle to become only the club’s second coach. Coyle, formerly of Bolton, Wigan, and Burnley, takes the place of Dom Kinnear, who left Houston following the 2014 MLS season for the San Jose Earthquakes job.

“First and foremost I’m thankful for the opportunity to come to the Houston Dynamo,” Coyle said in a press release. “It is nice to be wanted by a fantastic club and I feel we have a great opportunity to put a team on the pitch that is pleasing on the eye and can win games. I’ve been watching Houston Dynamo for many years and I know the atmosphere of the supporters.

“The league is thriving and the opportunity to join a big club like the Dynamo is very exciting for me.”

The Paisley, Scotland, born boss played more than 600 times for a host of clubs throughout Great Britain, including Dumbarton FC, Airdrieonians FC, and Motherwell in his native Scotland and Bolton Wanderers in England.

He began his full managerial career with St. Johnstone in 2005 before joining Burnley in 2007. In 2010 he moved to Bolton, though they were relegated to the Championship at the end of the 2011-2012 season. While at Bolton, Coyle signed former Dynamo midfielder Stuart Holden and former New York Red Bulls center back Tim Ream.

In June 2013, Coyle took over Wigan Athletic, but his time there was short, resigning after a third-successive loss nearly one year ago.

Coyle joins Orlando City SC head coach Adrian Heath, the Chicago Fire’s Frank Yallop, and the Earthquakes’ Kinnear as MLS’ only British-born head coaches.

“We are very pleased to announce Owen Coyle as the new head coach of the Houston Dynamo,” Dynamo general manager Matt Jordan said. “His top level experience, character, passion and ability to lead a group will be key factors as the team and club continues to evolve. He has a true respect and appreciation for the game in this country and of Major League Soccer, which was extremely important for us as a club moving forward.”


What do you think of this news? Like the hire? Do you expect Coyle to come to grips with the complicated MLS rule book quickly?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. There has always been a connection between Scotland and Houston, mainly due to both areas having control a large part of the oil industry. Watch the movie “Local Hero” and you’ll get the reference. The fact that Dominic Kinnear, Houston’ only coach to this date, was born in Scotland is not just coincidental. By the way, even though Coyle was born in Scotland, he played his only game as an international for Ireland as his parent were Irish. I think Houston’s attraction to Coyle was his ability to identify talent and build a solid team without the mounds of money you need in the Premiership. Bringing in Holden who was superb at Bolton and lead to the joining of Tim Ream shows he looked to the stated to find good talent at reasonable prices.His big success was bringing Burnly into the top flight, and then doing an admirable job with Bolton until the injury bug hit. Teams built without a lot of money are usually short of depth. Coyle must like the fact that AEG is still part owner. and is the managing partner and can use it’s influence to attract better players, a la, the Galaxy. I still do not think that Coyle is cognizant of the awfully hot and humid weather in the summer. Good luck with that.

    • I’m pretty sure he knows about the weather, since he was in Houston in the dead of summer for a friendly. It’s usually pretty hot on July 20th around here. Maybe, he sees a good opportunity?? Or maybe he is smart enough to realize no state income tax saves you 15 to 18% in taxes?????? No, no he must be coming because he’s Scottish…..

    • I wish that, just for a day, all MLS managers had wear full team kits, kinda like MLB managers. A lot of them would probably not look all that different from their recent playing days, but some others, well…

  2. “I won’t force systems and styles on players that don’t suit their strengths, so I need to assess the group we’ve got, but I think we’ll certainly be looking to pass and move that ball … it’s something that we’re going to work very hard at,” he said. — I like this philosophy from Coyle. If only Jurgen would think in the way of the first part of the first sentence. Have players play to their strengths.

  3. A huge element in these types of situations is making sure Coyle has the proper support staff to succeed and implement his coaching style and tactics – I think it speaks volumes that the 4 coaches of the 4 semi final teams all have very deep roots in MLS, 2 former players, and Arena and Schmid as some of the longest standing coaches.

    You need the institutional knowledge of the league to give yourself the opportunity to succeed, and that goes veeeerrrrryyyy far in terms of having a front office, and some sort of lieutenant/right hand man for Coyle to try to understand the various roster rules, and how the personnel side of building a team works.

    This will be a huge transition for the franchise, and I think it could be great – I follow a TON of EPL and this guy specializes in maximizing returns on talent. Hopefully they give him a solid support system.

  4. If we keep this trend MLS will be as good as the English Championship in a couple of short decades. Of course, when the only other option is to hire another former MLS re-treaded hack this option looks pretty solid.

  5. And, of course, with the Whitecaps’s Carl Robinson as the fifth UK born coach heading up an MLS team in 2015, that’s about 25 percent of the head coaches, a decent percentage, and no doubt a growing influence on the style of play we will see in the MLS in the future.

  6. Well, this will be interesting — a real life test of oh so many theories about what Americans do or don’t know about soccer and conversely what European coaches do or don’t know, about MLS vs other leagues and so on. I can hardly wait.

  7. This is a great move for Houston, OC is a super hardnosed former defender who is a solid Championship promotion/Premier league relegation level coach, which would be a step up for MLS but not by all that much. I think it’s clear that they’re going to give him the reigns for the next few years to rebuild the team from the ground up, rather than trying to pressure him to “make it work” with what he’s got. What he’s got is a decent foundation for a solid squad, but he’s going to have to make a lot of decisions about the future of the club and the kind of team he wants to put together, before he can decide who to keep and who to let find greener pastures.

    2015 = Best MLS season ever?

    • The scrappy non-stop nature of the Championship would lend itself better to the MLS.
      The massive number of games means you have to rotate and deal with your squad beyond the first 11.
      This of course happens a lot in the MLS.

      • +1

        I would agree that succeeding in the Championship has to take a lot of the same kind of skills that succeeding in MLS takes. You don’t get to live the pampered primadonna coach lifestyle in the Championship that we have seen in the Prem sometimes.

    • Are the managers in the Prem any better than, say, Bruce Arena, Peter Vermes, Jason Kreis, or Caleb Porter?

      Managing is about man-management and tactics and instituting training regimes…and a whole lot of it is PR and image maintenance.

      I think Coyle will do OK because he’s a good manager, but I certainly don’t think he’ll wipe the floor with the rest of the league. He may even struggle a bit at first. I do think he’ll bring an air of intensity and professionalism to a club that maybe needed a bit of both…sorry, when I watched the Dynamo, I saw an athletic club, but they were more than a bit sloppy technically, and I never really saw that rip-your-guts-out commitment to defending either.

      • “Managing is about man-management and tactics and instituting training regimes…and a whole lot of it is PR and image maintenance.”

        That depends on where you are managing. There are situations where it is about a lot more than that.

      • “Are the managers in the Prem any better than, say, Bruce Arena, Peter Vermes, Jason Kreis, or Caleb Porter?”

        Yeah…Let me name a few who are better: Van Gaal, Wenger, Koeman, Mourinho, Pellegrini. I know this is just an exercise in futility because they are not tested in the same environment.

  8. I’m optimistic about this hire and I thought it was interesting (if i heard right in the press conference) that he approached the Dynamo first which I think says a lot about his commitment to the Dynamo and MLS.

    • Yeah I know coaches without knowledge of MLS can be tricky, but that’s not a reason to not give something different a try every now and then. This is better than a retread MLS coach that knows one thing real well: how to be fired.

      Houston isn’t an organization that needs a coach that knows everything about MLS, their staff is solid so they can keep him focused on coaching as they take care of the business end until he is caught up to speed.

  9. Let me start by saying that I don’t know a lot about Coyle. I also think it’s good thing that so many MLS clubs are hiring relatively young, former players as coaches. Getting those kinds of coaches in MLS helps to expand the soccer pyramid in the US, which in my opinion is a good thing.

    However, I also believe it’s good to bring in “outsiders” who maybe have a different perspective. I know the track record of “outside” coaches is not good in MLS. But new ideas also expand the soccer pyramid. I hope this “risk” works out for the Dynamo.

    • Well, he better get started, because that’s no short process: Sign a contract with the league, fill out a 20 page questionaire to determine his “status” for league personnel decisions (DP, international, homegrown, etc), throw 3 darts at a map of the league to determine what teams he is eligible for, take a blind taste test of food items from each city to decide on a specific team, and then use a random number generator to get his jersey number. No way he’s ready for opening day…


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