Paul Riley has won consecutive NWSL coach of the year honors. (Andy Mead/YCJ Photo)
Paul Riley is trying to make it a natural hat-trick.
The Long Island resident is up for National Women’s Soccer League coach of the year for the third consecutive season, having won it in 2017 and 2018, coaching the North Carolina Courage.
He is one of third finalists. Reign FC’s Vlatko Andonovski, rumored to become the next U.S. women’s national team after Jill Ellis has stepped down, and the Washington Spirit’s Richie Burke are also in the running.
Riley, the director of football at the Albertson Soccer Club, guided the Courage to its third consecutive NWSL Shield crown with the best record in the league, despite being forced to play without several key players due to the Women’s World Cup in France.
The Courage finished atop the NWSL regular season again with a 15-5-4 mark and 49 points, five more than the second-place Chicago Red Stars (14-8-2, 44) after losing only one match in 2018.
Riley, 56, has directed three teams to national championships — the 2002 Long Island Rough Riders (USL Pro League) in 2002, the 2016 Western New York Flash (NWSL) and North Carolina (2018).
The Courage host Reign FC in a semifinal playoff game in Cary, N.C. Sunday at 1:30 p.m. (ESPN2).