NEW YORK (AP)Ronny Delia left MLS champion New York City FC on Monday to become coach of Belgium’s Standard Liege, and assistant coach Nick Cushing was named the interim coach.
Cushing, a 37-year-old from England, becomes the fifth coach of the team in eight seasons. Previous coaches were Jason Kreis (2015), Patrick Vieira (2016-18), Dominic Torrent (2018-19) and Delia (2020-22).
Cushing spent 2013-20 as coach of the women’s team at Manchester City, which, like NYCFC, is owned by City Football Group. He takes over NYCFC with the team in first place in the Eastern Conference with 26 points after 13 games, one point ahead of Philadelphia.
NYCFC is the fourth team of the league’s 28 teams to change coaches this season. San Jose’s Matias Almeyda was fired on April 18, D.C.’s Hernan Losada on April 20 and Charlotte’s Miguel Angel Ramirez on May 31.
Delia led NYCFC to its first MLS title last season, beating Portland on penalty kicks in the final. He managed Norway’s Stromsgodset from 2008-14, Scotland’s Glasgow Celtic from 2014-16 and Norway’s Valerenga from 2017-20.
Standard Liege finished 14th in the 18-team Belgium first division with nine wins, 16 losses and nine draws for 36 points, eight above the relegation zone. Mbaye Leye was fired as coach in October and replaced by Luka Elsner, who was fired at the end of the season.
Liege was purchased in March by the Miami-based firm 777 Partners, which owns Italy’s Genoa and Brazil’s Vasco da Gama, and also has a stake in Spain’s Sevilla.
Fergal Harkin, who had been Manchester City’s pathway and partnership manager, left last month to become Liege’s sporting director.
Assistant coach Efrain Juarez also left NYCFC for Liege.
NYC said Cushing and assistant coaches Rob Vartughian and Mehdi Ballouchy had agreed to long-term contracts.
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