PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia Union announced Friday Jim Curtin has been hired as head coach. A native of Oreland, Pa., Curtin assumed the role of interim manager on June 10, 2014 and led the Union to an 11-6-6 mark in all competitions while leading the franchise to its first U.S. Open Cup final.
“On behalf of the ownership group we are very committed to putting in place the very best structure to insure we not only appear in U.S. Open Cup Finals, as we did back in September, but to also win them,” Union CEO and Operating Partner Nick Sakiewicz said. “Getting back to the MLS playoffs and competing there on a regular basis is an absolute top priority. Today is another important step towards building an overall technical structure to achieve our competitive goals as we proudly announce Jim Curtin as the head coach of our First Team.
Since taking over the reins of this club, Jim has proven that he can compete and win. I have said from the outset of this coaching search that we were looking for a First Team coach to help guide us to our goal of competing to win an MLS Cup and Jim is our choice. He will lead our First Team and, along with his staff, he will be fully responsible for all player identification, recruiting, signings, transfers and trades.”
In November of 2012, Curtin was hired as an assistant coach for the Union’s First Team after spending three years working with the Union Academy. In addition to working as YSC’s Director of Curriculum Development, Curtin was also the Union’s Under-18 Academy head coach and was instrumental in the U-18s capturing the 2012 Generation Adidas Cup.
“I have also said throughout the coach search that we are evaluating the very best overall structure to insure our long term success on the field at PPL Park and at our youth academy and we continue to do that,” Sakiewicz said. “It’s no secret the Union is making a huge investment in youth development in this region and have made incredible strides under the leadership of Tommy Wilson rolling out our Academy last year. We continue to develop our relationship with Harrisburg and as we evolve we must have a modern structure to guide the development of all our investments on the technical side. Jim is the perfect fit to lead our First Team because he has worked up through our system, understands our great fans, partners and community, and shares our passion in delivering a winning product on the field.”
Curtin played over 200 games for the Chicago Fire and was named an MLS All-Star and the Fire’s Defender of the Year in 2004. He helped the squad to two U.S. Open Cup titles in 2003 and 2006, as well as the 2003 MLS Supporters Shield. Curtin played his final two seasons in the League with Chivas USA before retiring in 2009.
“I want to thank Jay Sugarman and Nick Sakiewicz for this tremendous opportunity,” said Curtin. “I am incredibly honored to be the head coach of my hometown club and am eager to build on the strong foundation we have in place. Regardless of title, my goals remain the same – to win games and bring hardware to the city of Philadelphia.”
Curtin attended Villanova University, where he was named BIG EAST Rookie of the Year in 1997 and a three-time team MVP for the Wildcats. The All-American defender was a two-time first team All-BIG EAST selection in 1999 and 2000 and was the 2001 Philadelphia Soccer Seven Player of the Year. He became the first player from Villanova to be drafted into the MLS when he was selected by the Chicago Fire in 2002.
Curtin was an all-state selection while playing soccer at Bishop McDevitt High School and also played club ball for Council Rock as a youth.
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