Minnesota United hires Adrian Heath as its MLS manager
Former Orlando City SC manager Adrian Heath will be undertaking another MLS expansion project.
Minnesota United has hired Heath as its manager ahead of the club's inaugural MLS campaign. Heath was let go by Orlando City this season after a subpar start to the season and was eventually replaced by Jason Kreis.
Still, Heath's team-building experience at the Orlando City organization makes him an understandable hire for Minnesota United. An Englishman who enjoyed an 18-year pro career including a successful stint at Everton, Heath moved to the United States in 2008 to take over the Austin Aztex, then a brand-new team in the third-tier USL. Heath guided the team through its first two seasons, then moved with the franchise to Orlando after it was bought by Phil Rawlins in 2010.
Once in Orlando, Heath built the team into a lower-division power, winning the 2011 and 2013 championships and the Commissioner's Cup (awarded to the team with the best regular-season record) in 2011, 2012, and 2014. Heath stayed with the team during yet another transition in 2015 as it moved to MLS, leading it to a 12–14–8 mark in its inaugural season. The team was 9–11–14 in the 2016 season when Heath was let go.
Like Orlando City in 2015, Minnesota United will be making the leap from a lower division to MLS in 2017. The club has existed in some form since 2010, and has played in the second-tier NASL since the league's reboot in 2011. It finished fifth in NASL last season under head coach Carl Craig, missing the playoffs.
Atlanta United FC, which will be joining MLS in 2017 along with Minnesota, has hired former Barcelona and Argentina national team manager Gerardo "Tata" Martino as its first coach. The two sides will conduct their expansion draft on Dec. 13, three days after the MLS Cup final.