BOCA RATON, Fla. — Long Island native Jim Rooney will return to the Boca Raton Football Club for the 2019 National Premier Soccer League and APSL seasons.
Rooney, who played for the MetroStars and was a member of the 1995 U.S. Interregional Soccer League champion Long Island Rough Riders, directed Boca Raton FC to a 10-10-2 record across all competitions last year. Boca reached its fourth consecutive APSL semifinals and growing a young team from scratch to recreate a winning culture within the organization.
“Bringing back Jim was our top priority this offseason,” club president Douglas Heizer said. “We are excited to be able to keep Jim in his hometown club.”
With only four players over the age of 25, Boca Raton FC was one of the youngest teams in both the NPSL and APSL last season, giving Rooney and his staff much room for growth as these young college stars mesh together in years to come.
“It’s great to be back for a second season,” Rooney said. “I’m excited to continue the work we began laying the groundwork for in the 2018 season and improve from it. Last year was a learning experience for a lot of these players and now that they had a year under their belt and I can ask more from them, and demand more as well.”
Coaching younger players is nothing new to Rooney, who was the assistant coach for the U.S. Soccer Under-17 men’s national team at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. where he coached several big-name players, including the 2017 U.S. Soccer male player of the year Christian Pulisic.
Rooney, who played in the Long Island Soccer Football League, captained Major League Soccer’s Miami Fusion from 1999 to 2001, leading the team to the Supporters Shield in 2001 and the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final in 2000. He was an MLS All-Star in 2001 and scored 21 times and recording 22 assists in an MLS career that spanned six seasons and playing for the MetroStars, Fusion and New England Revolution.
“As a coach that played professional soccer, I look at a players point of view and see that training has to be the best part of their day,” Rooney saoid. “At the same time, training must benefit both the players and the team. As a former pro, I look to create tactical drills that are also realistic to gameplay. We want our players to be aware of what to expect when that scenario presents itself in a game.”