Three seasons into Minnesota United’s tenure in Major League Soccer and Adrian Heath has signed a new contract to keep him here through the 2022 season. Per MNUFC Heath “will provide an increased role in player personnel decisions for the first team.”
“We have huge aspirational goals for our entire soccer operations department,” said MNUFC CEO Chris Wright. “We had a plan and timeline for how we wanted to develop this team starting out and we wanted to give Adrian and our soccer operations the time to implement the strategies that we have all put in place. Last year was a success any way that you measure it and we knew Adrian and his staff were still the right choice to help us keep developing our club. We are all working hard to make sure that our club moves in the right direction and our vision for the club is successful. We see Adrian and his staff as being a big part of this.”
Heath was brought into Minnesota in November 2016 ahead of the club’s first season in MLS to be the Loons first manager in the new league and third overall. Manny Lagos, who held After 6 seasons of being the Loons manager, Lagos stepped down to take the role of Sporting Director and was replaced by Carl Craig. Craig, who only lasted one season in the role during MNUFC’s final season in NASL, was replaced by the aforementioned Heath.
“I’m delighted to get it sorted and really excited about where we can go from what we’ve just done,” said MNUFC Head Coach Adrian Heath. “It’s well documented that the first two years were a struggle but we always talked about having a three-year plan and we’ll see where we are at the end of the three years. When I look back at the year, making the Open Cup Final, getting a home playoff game, being disappointed to lose to a team like the LA Galaxy who spend all the money they do and the players they have, it shows you how far we’ve come. The most important thing is we have to push on now, we can’t rest on what we’ve done. Yes, last year was good, but we have to make this year even better. We’ve all been all over the world looking at players and we feel as though we need two or three spots now to take us to that next level and that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Prior to coming to Minnesota, Heath had a near 20 year career as a player where he made 559 appearances and scored 120 goals for various teams in England. His managerial career in the US started when he was named head coach of the USL First Division expansion side Austin Aztex. In 2011 when the Aztex moved from Austin to Orlando, Heath followed suit, coaching them for the entirety of their existence in the USL.
His four years at the helm in Orlando saw the Lions take home three USL Regular Season Championship and two USL Cup playoff titles, along with advancing as far as the Quarter-Finals of the Open Cup in 2013. His success in the USL saw Heath appointed as manager with City moving into MLS for 2015. His MLS stay in Orlando only lasted 1 1⁄2 years though as he was sacked 16 matches into the 2016 season. Heath had a career record of 132 wins, 59 draws, and 77 losses with Austin/Orlando.
With the Loons he has a record of 35-14-45 through three seasons and lead Minnesota to their first winning season in MLS during the 2019 season and first overall since 2015 in the North American Soccer League.
Stay tuned to E Pluribus Loonum for more offseason updates on Minnesota United FC.