By Michael Lewis
As one head coach leaves New York City FC, his replacement joins the team the same day.
New York City FC Monday named Domènec Torrent as head coach of the MLS club. He will succeed Patrick Vieira, who has moved on to become head coach at Nice in French Ligue 1.
A former head coach of Girona FC (Spain) and assistant coach at Barcelona and Bayern Munich, Torrent most recently was a top lieutenant of Pep Guardiola at Manchester City FC in the English Premier League. Both teams are owned by City Football Group.
Torrent has signed with NYCFC through the end of the 2020 season. He will start his new role with the team, pending the approval of a U.S. work permit, the team said.
He has worked with Guardiola the past 11 years, helping win 24 trophies across terms at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester City.
“Though I have enjoyed a wonderful 11 years working alongside my colleague and close friend Pep Guardiola – it has always been my ambition to manage a team again and I really couldn’t have hoped for a better opportunity than at this football club,” Torrent said in a statement.”
Torrent inherits a second-place team in the Eastern Conference with an 8-3-4 record and 28 points, two behind Atlanta United.
“I know we have a very talented team,” he said. “I have watched many of the matches and I enjoy the way the team plays, and I now can’t wait to begin working with the players on the training pitch.
“Though I have been fortunate enough to visit New York on numerous occasions, I am looking forward to living and coaching in this special city and meeting the fans as soon as possible. I am eager to experience and play a part in the soccer culture of New York.”
Born in Girona and played as a midfielder in two of the provincial teams in the 1980s (UE Olot and AD Guixols), Torrent secured coached Palafrugell CF, Palamos CF and Girona FC.
His relationship with Guardiola began at Barcelona B in 2007 where they guided the side to promotion to Spain’s Segunda Division B. When Guardiola was named Barcelona’s head coach, he took Torrent along with him. During their tenure, Barca won 14 major championships. That included three La Liga titles, two UEFA Champions League crowns, two UEFA Super Cups, two Spanish Cups, three Spanish Super Cups and two Club World Cups.
“Domènec brings with him an incredible amount of experience having coached many of the greatest players in the world at the very highest level of the game,” NYCFC vice chairman Marty Edelman said. “His influence on the sport has been significant and this is an exciting period not only for NYCFC but also for MLS – a league that we know is excited by new influences as it continues to grow at a great pace.
“City Football Group has a wide network of coaches which has made it possible for us to find such exceptional talent so close at hand. The coaching staff in Manchester follow our games closely and I know how familiar Domènec is with our team and will appreciate both the quality of our team and the competitiveness of MLS.”
“I’m pleased that we have been able to move so quickly to replace Patrick. A smooth transition was certainly a priority, particularly for a group of players who have had an excellent campaign so far. I know Domènec can’t wait to get started.”