Paul Riley directed the Courage to the best regular-season record in the NWSL. (Andy Mead/YJC Photo)
North Carolina Courage coach Paul Riley was named the National Women’s Soccer League coach of the year, the league announced Monday.
The 54-year-old Riley led the Courage to the NWSL Shield with a record-tying 16 wins as they posted a 16-7-1 record in the club’s first year since relocating to North Carolina. It is the fourth consecutive year the coach of the team with the best regular-season record has been honored with the award.
The Courage lost to the Portland Thorns FC in the NWSL final Saturday, 1-0.
The Bay Shore, N.Y. resident and Liverpool, England native helped his team become just the fourth side in NWSL history to average more than two points per game with 49 points from 24 matches in 2017. He and his players spent 147 of 169 days during the regular-season in first-place – aided by an NWSL season record seven victories by the score line of 1-0.
The Courage also set an NWSL single-season record with 12 shutouts and conceded just 22 goals in 24 games during the 2017 regular season – with their 0.92 goals against average the fourth-best in the history of the league. Five of Carolina’s 12 shutouts in 2017 came away from home to equal the record for most clean sheets on the road set by Portland Thorns FC in 2013.
Riley and his players had two separate winning streaks of four games or more during the 2017 season – with their five consecutive victories during August tied for the longest winning streak in the NWSL this year.
The Courage reached the NWSL final a year after Riley led many of the same players to the 2016 NWSL title as the Western New York Flash.