In a move that was widely expected, the North Carolina Courage have announced the hiring of Paul Riley as the team’s coach. Riley managed the Western New York Flash in 2016, leading that team to the NWSL title after a 3-2 shootout against the Washington Spirit.
Announcing the signing, NC Courage President and General Manager Curt Johnson said “we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Paul.” He went onto say that “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.”
The Liverpudlian has extensive coaching experience in NWSL having managed the Portland Thorns from 2014-2015 and coached teams in the WPS and other US women’s professional and collegiate soccer leagues.
Commenting about the decision to join the club, Riley said, "I’m extremely excited and humbled to be the first head coach of the Courage. 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."
With Western New York, Riley encouraged an attacking style of soccer and it looks as if that won’t change with the move to Cary as he commented that “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 will look to win consecutive NWSL Championships when the Courage take the field in April.