Patrick Vieira Takes Charge as NYCFC Manager


Former Arsenal and French midfield legend Patrick Vieira has been named as the head coach of New York City Football Club on a three year deal, replacing Jason Kreis who was let go shortly after the season ended.

Vieira, as a player, was part of the France squad that won the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000. He lifted the Premier League on three separate occasions with the Gunners, and won four FA Cups with the North London squad. The midfielder retired after the 2010-11 season with Manchester City to join the team’s development staff.

He became part of City’s youth development staff, receiving the title of Football Development Executive. Following Roberto Mancini’s sacking in 2013, Vieira became the coach of City’s elite development squad, the name for their U-21 reserves. Over this past summer, he was linked to several Premier League openings, but nothing came of them, the closest of which was Newcastle.

Vieria makes the move to Major League Soccer with no American coaching experience, which means it will be vital to have an experienced staff who can help with the adjustment to MLS. This is a different league, not just with the play on the field, but how the game is run off the pitch.

Budget restrictions affect how teams can build depth, and creates parity that can’t be found in other leagues. The designated player rules can be difficult for even the most experienced personnel in the league to understand at times; not to mention there are new free agency rules for the offseason. There will be a learning curve for the Frenchman, but if he has the right staff around him, he can overcome it sooner rather than later.

The thought around Jason Kreis and his staff was that he would succeed because of his MLS experience, after all he did mold Real Salt Lake into legitimate contenders what seemed like every season. However, he was given limited power to perform to his own agenda by the City Football Group ownership, and he ultimately could not adjust. That is not because he is a bad coach, but due to the fact that the expectations were sky high for a first year expansion club running on European philosophies. That is not a fault of Kreis, but Vieira will fit the built better for the philosophy that the ownership want.

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Vieira will have already come out of the City landscape and will have experience with the system that CFG want to implement. He will not succeed unless he grasps the nature of the league, in every way. Both Vieira and CFG will need to understand that they are a second year club with issues that cannot be fixed overnight with a coaching change. They are playing on a baseball field, training on a college campus, and it will take time to form the club that the ownership wants to see.

Having been a world class player in his own right, Vieira should have no issues connecting with Andrea Pirlo, Frank Lampard, and David Villa. His system will not only have to fit the strengths of the stars, but will also have to account for the rest of the squad while somehow also keeping in mind the strategy of the higher ups.

There is no doubt that the football club will take time to develop, and the appointment of Patrick Vieira has a massive risk and reward factor for all involved. If the proper steps are not taken, even with the talent on the pitch, New York City FC could find themselves in the same situation two or three years down the road.