Former Hearts and Dundee United boss Robbie Neilson is back in management after being appointed as head coach of Tampa Bay Rowdies.
The 43-year-old has been out of work since he was sacked by Hearts in April but is now undertaking a new challenge in the USA.
Neilson has been tasked with delivering success with the USL Championship club after being given a “multi-year” contract with the Rowdies.
“We are proud to bring a coach of Robbie’s calibre here to Tampa Bay to lead the Rowdies,” said Rowdies vice-chairman Brian Auld. “Throughout his career, Robbie has shown the ability to get results at a high level and take teams under his leadership to new heights.
“We believe Robbie’s passion and drive matches our ambitions to continually improve on and off the field, which makes him a perfect fit for the Rowdies.”
“I’m so grateful for the fantastic opportunity the ownership of the Rowdies has given me to help this club continue its development,” Neilson said. “It’s truly a great setup for soccer here in Tampa Bay.
“There is a great training ground and all the facilities you need for the team to continue to progress and be successful. A big thing for me making the decision to come here is the good people already in place.
“That is so important at any soccer club. There’s a real positivity here and there’s an ambition to continue to be successful.
“We’ve got a fantastic squad and now it’s about adding a bit more quality and energy to get it to the next level.”
Neilson will be assisted initially by former Rangers and Motherwell midfielder Nicky Law, who is a coach at the club and was acting as interim manager before the appointment.
The club’s announcement highlights Neilson’s success in winning the Championship title with both Hearts and Dundee United and noted that he had the highest winning percentage of any head coach in either club’s history.
The Scot now aims to guide the club to the Eastern Conference title and to win the USL outright, and says that will come from him demanding a high workrate from his players.
“First and foremost, fans can expect high energy from our squad,” said Neilson. “When it comes down to my team, work rate is the most important thing. Humility, honesty, and work ethic are the three things that I always focus on getting out of the clubs I have worked at.
“Ultimately, it’s about winning football matches and historically, I’ve managed to do that at the clubs I’ve been at.
“We want to win the regular season, win the Eastern Conference, and ultimately win the whole thing.
“That’s the ultimate objective. There’s plenty of hard work to get there, but that’s where we’re setting our sights.”
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