TAMPA, Fla. – In 2019, Greenville Triumph SC head coach John Harkes led his side within one win of claiming a title in its inaugural season.
This year, there would be no denying them. On Thursday, Harkes, a former captain of the U.S. men’s national team captain and veteran of two World Cups, was named USL League One’s coach of the year after leading his side to its first title.
Finishing six points clear at the top of the regular season standings, Greenville sat in first place throughout the campaign from its victory to open the regular season on July 18 to its finale Oct. 24.
Founded once again on a strong defensive base, Greenville controlled its place at the top of the standings thanks to a pair of six-game undefeated streaks during the campaign. The first put Triumph SC on top as it won five of its first six games to start the abbreviated schedule and the first of its four-game shutout streaks that saw players like Noah Pilato, Lachlan McLean and JJ Donnelly come through with key goals in 1-0 victories.
The second sealed first place in the league standings as Harkes’ side reeled off a five-game winning streak that saw the attacking tandem of McLean and Alex Morrell provide the goals ahead of a back line led by goalkeeper Dallas Jaye and defender Brandon Fricke, already honored this week. When Greenville romped to a 4-1 victory on the final day of the season, it concluded an outstanding campaign steered by Harkes’ steady hand.
Recognition for his coaching abilities is nothing new to the U.S. Soccer Hall of Famer. In 2016 he was a finalist for the Championship’s award after an outstanding inaugural season with FC Cincinnati. He was as well last year in League One for his exploits in Greenville’s first season.
But in 2020 he walks away with the prize, having built a foundation in two years that looks set to see the Triumph thrive for many years to come.
Harkes earned 79 percent of the vote to earn the award. Union Omaha’s Jay Mims finished second on 11 percent, while North Texas SC’s Eric Quill finished third on five percent.
The 2020 USL League One Awards were voted on by team technical staffs and executives. Voting was conducted following the conclusion of the 2020 League One regular season.