Paul Riley: “We have an amazing group of talented players who are willing to walk the wire in the clouds.” (Andy Mead/YCJ Photo)
CARY, N.C. — Don’t worry, North Carolina Courage fans, Paul Riley isn’t going anywhere. He will be coaching the team for a few more years, probably to the chagrin to the rest of the National Women’s Soccer League.
The Courage announced Monday that it has signed the two-time NWSL coach of the year to a multi-year contract.
Riley, a Bay Shore, N.Y. resident who continues as director of football at the Albertson Soccer Club, returns to the Courage after completing a historic treble, guiding the team to the inaugural Women’s International Champions Cup, a second consecutive NWSL Shield and the 2018 NWSL Championship. The club also announced that vice president of operations Bobby Hammond will assume the title of assistant general manager.
As per club policy no details were disclosed on the deal.
“We are thrilled to have Paul continue to guide the team,” club president and general Curt Johnson said. “Paul is a consummate professional who has built a strong, winning culture within the Courage. We look forward to having him lead the team with continued success for years to come.”
Riley joined the Courage during the team’s transition from Western New York and led the Courage to a 16-win season to clinch the 2017 NWSL Shield. Riley and the Courage followed their inaugural season with a record-breaking 2018 that saw the team only lose one match posting a 17-6-1 record on its way to the 2018 title.
“Tremendous honor to be back at this club,” Riley said. “Steve Malik is a visionary who completely understands the fantastic growth in the women’s game. Courage country is a special place. We have an amazing group of talented players who are willing to walk the wire in the clouds. They have given me the Courage to follow them. It’s an exhilarating time at the club and our fanbase is second to none. I’m looking forward to the challenge of a World Cup year and we have a motivated staff who will strain every sinew they have to service the team and make the club successful.”
The Courage broke several records last year, including most wins in a season (17), most points (57) and most goals (53).
The success of the team led to Riley being voted NWSL coach of the year in 2018, an award he received in 2017 as well.
In his first year with the Flash (now the Courage), Riley guided the team to the 2016 NWSL championship as it defeated the Washington Spirit, 3-2, in penalty kicks to raise the trophy. Before directing the Flash, he was the head coach of the Portland Thorns of the NWSL in 2014 and 2015.