Eric Wynalda returns to Lights FC for his second season as a manager in USL Championship.
Las Vegas (NV) -- Lights FC announce that United States soccer legend Eric Wynalda has signed a contract to remain as the team's manager for the 2020 USL Championship season. Las Vegas Lights Football Club improved in almost every statistical category during Wynalda's first year as a head coach in the league, narrowly missing out on a playoff berth.
"I have unfinished business here," said Wynalda. "I want to win and I want to win in Las Vegas, it’s an honor to be back with the club. We’re very optimistic about not just making the playoffs, but being a challenger for the title next year."
Under Wynalda's leadership, Las Vegas became one of the best home teams in the Western Conference by winning 9 games at Cashman Field in 2019. Defensively the Lights ranked as the ninth-best in the West after being the fourth worst (out of 33 teams) in USL during the team's inaugural year.
“Eric embodies what our club stands for -- and what we strive to become. His demeanor, his mindset and his desire to dominate remains a great fit for Lights FC,” said Lights FC Owner & C.E.O. Brett Lashbrook. “Our expectations both in the short and long-term remain enormously high. I’m proud to have Eric back in 2020.”
Wynalda's Major League Soccer connections allowed Lights FC to have high caliber players with National Team pedigree to play in Las Vegas during the 2019 season, including Dejan Jakovic (Canada) and Rodolfo Zelaya (El Salvador) of LAFC, and Cristian Martinez (Panama) of Chicago Fire FC.
Prior to his time with the Lights, his coaching career began in 2012 with Cal FC, an amateur club that achieved unprecedented success in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Wynalda led his team to the best-ever finish by an amateur team in the tournament's history when it won multiple qualifying rounds before advancing to the fourth round where he beat MLS-side Portland Timbers FC. Following this success, Wynalda was named technical director and head coach for NASL's Atlanta Silverbacks where he won the 2013 NASL Spring Championship.
In the upcoming weeks, Eric Wynalda will make roster and coaching staff decisions ahead of the 2020 USL Championship season.
“We were always about two or three players away from being a team that could compete on a consistent basis and next year that will be the case,” stated Eric Wynalda. “This will be a more powerful roster with more strength and experience. That’ll be the reason why we’ll have more success in 2020 than we did this year.”