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Patrick Vieira named NYCFC head coach

vieira-Man City

Just one week after parting ways with Jason Kreis, New York City FC has brought in an international legend as the club’s newest head coach.

NYCFC announced on Monday that the club has hired Patrick Vieira as the club’s new head coach. Vieira will join NYCFC on Jan. 1 and has signed a three-year deal with the club.

“I am delighted to take up the role of Head Coach of New York City FC,” Vieira said of his appointment. “To work with this squad, with Claudio Reyna and Rob Vartughian and the fantastic support team that is in place, is an exciting prospect for any coach.

“This established football set up, together with a passionate and loyal fan base, located in a special city which I know well, makes for an unparalleled opportunity that I am delighted to seize with both hands.  I cannot wait to get started.”

Vieira joins NYCFC after spending five years as a coach at Manchester City, with his most recent efforts coming as head coach of the club’s Elite Development Squad.

As a player, Vieira is regarded as one of the best midfielders of his era. A French international, Vieira made 107 appearances for his country while helping France to a 1998 World Cup triumph.

On the club level, Vieira featured most prominently for Arsenal while also featuring for AC Milan, Inter Milan, Juventus and Manchester City. In total, Vieira claimed three Premier League titles, five FA Cup titles and three Serie A titles.

“Patrick was a legendary player and has all the characteristics required to make a fantastic Head Coach,” said NYCFC sporting director Claudio Reyna. “His exemplary drive, passion and dedication have always marked him out as a rare talent and all of those qualities, alongside his understanding of the game, make him a natural choice.

“Patrick is a natural born leader. He has played under some of the best managers in the world and experienced different leagues and playing styles, enjoying success everywhere he has been. We believe he can bring that knowledge and experience to take New York City FC forward in MLS. We are looking forward to him joining us in the coming weeks.”

What do you think of the hire? How will Vieira fare with NYCFC?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. No experience coaching and no experience with American soccer. With arguably the worst team in the MLS. Next season, NYCFC will have one of the lowest point totals in MLS history. They will be Chivas bad.

  2. This may or may not work out, but it has a strong tinge of Man City arrogance — “We are the experts, we can plug in some DPs and a head coach with zero experience but his superior knowledge will be enough.” The comparison above to Ruud Gullit may be apt.

  3. So Eurosnobbery has now established itself inside the MLS? Kind of bizarre. Take a guy with a proven track record as a head coach, sack him after one year, replace him with a guy that’s never coached a game, simply because he’s a famous footballer from Europe and must therefore know way more about every aspect of soccer than any American?

    And the irony is, Kreis has put together the building blocks for a pretty decent team. If they make the playoffs next year (and why not? at this rate, MLS will probably expand the playoffs next year to eight teams per conference), Viera will get all the credit, while Kreis submits his resume to the Minnesota Loons.

    • First time coach, new to MLS and makes playoffs?

      If that’s the case ,then yes, he’ll deserve credit..that is really hard to do. And quite impressive given the track record for non MLS coaches.

    • What are you talking about? It is not bizarre at all, this is the history of the game. “Simply because he is a famous footballer from Europe”. Doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be a good coach but, yeah, in a way, he knows more, has accomplished more, reads the game better than most anyone in the world. Simply, he’s seen a higher level than any American. Players who reached that level, who want to coach, WILL coach. It is not a knock, he’s just “famous” for a reason, and who cares where he comes from. You all make this into America vs. Europe, when in fact it should be good coaches vs. bad coaches, good players vs. bad players. No need to put up border fences, and in fact, outside of the United States in this sport not a whole lot matters other than results and style..

      If you want to go that route, that is, to disrespect a great player in spite of what he’s given the game (Viera was an archetypal player, because of him the sport adapted physically and tactically, as now many such players exist), you’re choosing to ignore the history of the game in favor of a new league with special rules.

      Call it snobbery if you want, but on the other hand is ignorance, which is unfortunately rampant in these parts. You’re judging someone before he even starts, and you view MLS as a vacuum whereas football is a world and a history of exchanges.

      • Very nice post Concorde. I understand sentiment of H.D. and sticking up for Kreis who IS a quality manager and didn’t do bad under the circumstances… he will undoubtedly land on his feet. Think we also have to realize MC knows Vieira and his coaching abilities far better than any of us and better than they know Kreis. He’s been one of their own, in closer contact longer than JK. Could be they feel they have a gem of a manager on their hands they want to keep in the organization who is ready for next the next step and may not be content to stick around to coach reserves. Sometimes everyone is right. It is entirely possible that Kreis was on his way to success and got a raw deal and will excel at his next stop… while simultaneously Vieira is a great pick, comes in, delegates duties to cover unknowns/peculiarities to the league and kicks butt as a manager in MLS.

  4. Everyone keeping tabs on the premier league saw this one coming. Vieira looking for coaching experience and this was too convenient to pass up for the conglomerate that is Manchester city.

  5. Nobody here remembers Gary Smith. Coached the youth and reserves at Watford, became a youth coach and scout at Arsenal. Kroenke’s ownership group wanted Arsenal’s expertise in setting up youth academy for Colorado. Ended up becoming an assistant for Clajivo. After Clajivo was let go in 2008, was good enough as interim to earn a permanent contact til 2010. Won the MLS CUPdor Colorado Rapids (out of nowhere) in 2010, but left after disagreement with Bravo over management.

    Vierra situation is very similar to Gary Smiths’ but Vierra has a better pedigree, and if he’s willing to let Reyna and Man U call shots on new player acquisition, will do well.

    The move allows an up-and-coming assistant manager at a very important EPL club. get important Ist Division experience and make him a better coach. He’s given three years to prove himself to Man U, but not necessarily to get an MLS Cup.

    • I remember Gary Smith and remembered that he was going back to England after he was sacked. FYI, I looked him up and he had a good season at Stevenage his first year, then had a poor run of games his second and was sacked again. He now is the coach of the Atlanta Silverbacks and has said he would like to manage again in MLS.

      • I remember Stevenage going from the English Conference to League One and almost to the Championship in like what? Three-Four seasons? It’s a shame that Bravo had Kroenke’s ear instead of Smith’s. If I remember correctly there was a lot of friction between Bravo, who wanted to follow Kroenke’s direction and keep roster spending to a minimum versus Smiths who really wanted one of the recently approved Designated Player positions for Colorado. It was Gary Smith who deserved the credit for building the Colorado MLS Cup team through shrewd player acquisition and an eye for talent.You only have to look at the Rapids record since he left. I have no doubt that with all the expansion team openings and the usual MSL coaches merry-go-round, he will find an MLS position in the near future. He is only one of the 6 active coaches in the MLS to have won an MLS CUP, a rare achievement indeed.

  6. Legend. His understanding of the game is epic, has a strong but calm demeanor. He is a coach and a thinker from what I can tell, seeing him often on French tv doing commentary.

    Good hire or not it is exciting and that can only be good for MLS as it keep teams and approaches different.

  7. I suspect a huge amount of naivety on the part of City. They are trying to use the same model used at City to build a team in MLS. They won’t buy their way into a championship team here. I think they underestimate the difficulty of playing in MLS. Old washed up Euro stars are not going to come here and dominate in most cases (Didi Drogba being the exception this year). You have to build a team of MLS journeymen around those stars to be successful. Bruce Arena is this master at building within MLS’ idiosyncratic system, which is why his teams have won so many trophies.

  8. MLS needs coaches with Euro experience coaching, yes, but not at the senior level. Instead, these coaches need to be helping develop players in the academies. That’s where U.S. soccer is lacking.

    • I think the coaching needs to be improved even lower than the academies, but you’re on the right track. Most MLS coaches are pretty decent or better than that.

      • This. The difference between the US and soccer powerhouses is that the dads here don’t know anything about soccer. In other countries, they all played it and watched it as soon as they could walk, as did their fathers before them. By the time our kids get to the academies, it’s too late, they’re not good enough, and they can’t make up for lost time when everyone else in the system has the same problems.

  9. This will be interesting to see how he does. I think the most fascinating scenario would be to see what happens if Viera’s team misses the playoffs in his first year. Man City management has been so utterly predictable that it seems almost a lock for Viera to be given ample time (three year contract and he’s a Man City guy way more than Kreis ever could hope to be) to build a winner. In other words I can see him getting his three years at least.

    If that does happen then it will become even clearer that Kreis was always seen as a stop gap since he was given one year to get it right.

    On the other hand if Viera does well then it will be interesting to see if MLS owners start turning towards European coaches to fill vacancies.

    • Right? They’re not just grooming Man City’s young players, but now they’re a training ground for their coaching prospects. Apparently the Don is fine with the league being to the EPL what USL is for MLS.

  10. I think the phrase “[t]his established football set up” says it all. It’s part of ManCity, just another reserve/youth team that’s part of the club where former players, with great reputations and no coaching experience, can cut their teeth.

    • It’s the Golden Rule–he who has the gold rules. If NYCFC succeeds, it will be in spite of their ownership is how it looks to me.

  11. Square peg, round hole. I’d be surprised if he lasts 3 years before getting called back to England. I would say at some point it would be great to be able to get talented coaches from Europe, just to see them adjust to the MLS, but Viera is too green. Good luck getting used to the MLS.

    • This could be good for Viera if the goal of Man City is to get him to concentrate on the development of the players he has and tactics. MLS experience is probably not good if he sees himself as a future European coach with more control over player recruitment.

  12. Wow, absolutely no first team coaching experience. Ok, let’s give him his first gig in MLS. No nuances in that league. Have teams learned nothing from Metrostars/RebBull. Heck, i think even RedBull has learned from RedBull. Good luck NYCFC fans.

  13. Viera would certainly be a big deal to the standard MLS player. One of the issues that Kreis had was Lampard and PIrlo. While Viera has playing credentials that Kreis does not, does his appointment solve the concerns of the Designated Players? He has no head managerial experience. These guys have played for Mourhino, Ancelloti, Conti, Avram Grant (sorry just thought I would throw that in). Will he be a big deal to those two?

    Also, NYCFC is clearly a younger brother to Man City. Can’t say that I really blame them with the money being spent and earned at Man City. Will the owners keep Viera surrounded by enough MLS advisors that he will understand the MLS model? I guess the good news is that Viera is not used to setting demands to get players like other more experienced European managers.

    • Yeah. Obviously I can not speak an informed word about him as a manager. As a player? Wow. Hate the cliche’d over use of the word beast but….if it ever applied, it is here. Now… that doesn’t always translate from player to manager- but if he can bring 1/2 the skill, drive, bite as a manger that he did as a player, he’ll be great. Can’t help but think this has lots to do with Villa, Pirlo, Lamps who were conspicuously silent in any support of Kreis all season long. Be easier for them to respect the footballing man in addition to the position.

      Anyhow- whatever Vieiras capability is a a tactician, motivator, developer of talent…. he’s going to need a LOT of help managing the intricacies of MLS rosters/salary cap/ travel/scheduling etc etc.

  14. We don’t know much about him as a manager seeing as he’s never managed the first-team anywhere before but definitely one of my top 10 footballers of all-time. An absolute beast. Going to make it bittersweet for me when RBNY beat him next year.

    • Slow,

      I agree with you on this one. One of favorite players on my favorite team (Arsenal). He was a complete beast and unstoppable as a central midfielder in his peak. That is what Arsenal is missing, a world class CM who can shut you down, but also lay off a beautiful pass to start your offense or dribble through people to do so as well.


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