ELMA, N.Y. (Via Western New York Flash) – The Western New York Flash announced today that it has appointed veteran manager Paul Riley as the head coach of the National Women’s Soccer League club. Riley, who was previously the head coach for Portland Thorns FC, becomes just the second head coach in the history of the Flash.
“After matching up with him for many years, I’m thrilled to announce Paul Riley as the second coach in our club’s eight-year history,” said Flash Vice President Aaran Lines. “It was obviously very important to me to find the right successor and we couldn’t be happier to have Paul. He is an excellent coach and very well respected across the globe.”
“I would like to thank Aaran and the WNY Flash for this fantastic opportunity. The league has grown substantially over the last two years and I’m excited to coach such a young, hungry and talented group of players,” Riley said of his new appointment. “Having coached against Aaran over three different leagues, I look forward to working with him, [technical director] Charlie [Naimo] and [general manager] Rich [Randall] to bring this project to it’s fruition with a playoff berth.”
Riley joins the Flash after two seasons with fellow NWSL club Portland, where he led the Thorns to a playoff berth in 2014. Prior to the NWSL, Riley coached the Philadelphia Independence of Women’s Professional Soccer to a 26-16-3 record. In his time with the club, the Independence reached the league’s Championship match in back-to-back years, 2010 and 2011, and he was named WPS Coach of the Year in both of those seasons.
A native of Liverpool, England, Riley also coached the Long Island Fury of the WPSL and Long Island Rough Riders of the, then, A-League. During his tenure, the Fury had a record of 48-6-8 and were league champions in 2006 and 2009, and won the regular season each year from 2006-09. In 2009, Riley earned WPSL Coach of the Year honors.
With the Rough Riders, a men’s side, Riley led the club to the 2002 league title, was named 1999 A-League National Coach of the Year and coached the league’s all-star team the during the 2000 season. In that season, Riley and the Rough Riders won its first Northeast Division title, edging the Rochester Raging Rhinos by one point in the standings.
Before taking the helm at the professional ranks, Riley coached at the collegiate level from 1991-97 for C.W. Post. There, Riley was named a five-time NYCAC Coach of the Year, 1991 NY Regional Coach of the Year and led the Pioneers to NCAA berths in 1994 and 1994.
Riley started his professional playing career in 1988, joining the Albany Capitals of the American Soccer League. Over his 10 years on the field, Riley accumulated numerous accolades including two APSL All-Star teams and MVP honors. Playing with the Long Island Rough Riders from 1994-97, Riley ended his career as the club’s all-time leader in assists.
“I’m looking forward to seeing Paul establish the type of culture at the Flash that made him so tough to beat, and very successful, while at the Philadelphia Independence of WPS,” Lines added.
“There is a great buzz in the club and I hope this can transfer to fans in the seats and we can excite the fan base with some quality attacking football,” Riley added. “The club has all the important ingredients to be successful with terrific ownership, top management, and a young team that has huge potential and is highly motivated.”
“I’m looking forward to helping each and every player maximize their performance and create an environment where the team can blossom and flourish”
Riley and the Flash will open the 2016 season on Saturday, April 16 at reigning Champion, FC Kansas City. The Flash will begin its home campaign on Friday, April 29 against the Washington Spirit.