GAA Football

Former Donegal boss Jim McGuinness makes move into soccer management

Jim McGuinness led Donegal to the All-Ireland title in 2012, before later turning his attentions to soccer
Neil Loughran

ALL-IRELAND winning boss Jim McGuinness has been appointed manager of second-tier Charlotte Independence in the United Soccer League on a three-year contract.

Six years ago McGuinness guided his native Donegal to Sam Maguire and, after leaving that post in 2014, concentrated on his cross-over from Gaelic football into the world of soccer.

McGuinness had worked as a coach alongside Neil Lennon at Celtic in his final year with Donegal, eventually moving to Glasgow on a permanent basis to manage the U20s.

After leaving Parkhead he joined Chinese Super League side Beijing Sinobo Guoan, working under former Bayer Leverkusen coach Roger Schmidt, but Charlotte Independence will be McGuinness' first foray into professional management.

He will take over the North Carolina-based club with immediate effect.

"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," said McGuinness.

"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 McGuinness to the club, Charlotte Independence president Jim McPhillamy 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."

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