Bob Lilley once played professional indoor soccer in Pittsburgh.
Now, he’s returning to the city he finished his professional career in.
Lilley was named the 10th head coach of the Pittsburgh Riverhounds on Tuesday afternoon.
Lilley replaces Dave Brandt, whom was hired in 2016 about midway through the season. According to Riverhounds owner Tuffy Shallenberger, Brandt did not have the credentials to coach in the USL, now that they are a U.S. Soccer Federation Division II league.
According to a press release, Brandt would’ve needed an “A” licensing level head coaching certification.
Brandt, a former Messiah College and Navy Academy coach, mutually parted ways with the club.
“First of all, I’d like to thank Dave Brandt for all he’s done,” Shallenberger said. “We feel like he’s put the club in a better spot. I respect Dave a lot, but this all comes down to a licensing issue. It’s just we were not in compliance like I said earlier.”
“We have a responsibility to be in compliance, so with that comes the excitement of introducing our new head coach, Mr. Bob Lilley from Rochester.”
Lilley was the head coach of the Rochester Rhinos from 2014-17 and from 2009-11. During his time with the Rhinos, Lilley won Coach of the Year twice, in 2010 and 2015, while also compiling a record of 87-37-53.
“I am excited and honored to join the Pittsburgh Riverhounds organization,” Lilley said. “They have made tremendous strides as a club to move forward in the modern USL. Tuffy’s investment and ability to tap into the corporate community in Pittsburgh, as well as the phenomenal growth of their youth development model has this team poised to continue its rise in prominence.”
Lilley called Pittsburgh a “dynamic” city.
The new head coach also proclaimed that Brandt has been “incredibly helpful” in the transition of power. He also added that decision on player options need to be made by Nov. 30.
“It’s happened quickly, so I’ve tried to get as much information as I could and I expect it to move quickly because of the players,” Lilley said. “We need to focus on them and make the decisions on them, but I still have some more conversations I have to have. We do have a player combine on Thursday and Friday with players who were scheduled to come in, we’re going to evaluate and start the process.”
“We have to have a bar.”
Lilley excited Riverhounds fans by saying he has a relationship with Mark Pulisic, the father of German Bundesliga and U.S. Men’s National Team star Christian. However, he doesn’t know if he’ll be an official hire on his staff.
“He’s a possibility, but I won’t know from him for a while because he’s looking at a number of different things,” Lilley said. “We’ll certainly have other people involved with the staff. I want to talk to the existing people in place because I know Dave has confidence in those guys so I want to work with those guys, get a feel for everyone.
“If we have people here who can do the job for us, then I’m inclined to not disrupt everything and start over. But that’s going to take a little bit of time before we make those final decisions of what we’re doing going forward.”
Meanwhile, the Rhinos released a statement of their own about Lilley’s departure.
“We knew Bob Lilley as one of the most respected coaches in the United Soccer League. He provided leadership to the team and to our organization. We thank him for his commitment to giving Rochester fans plenty of exciting soccer,” said David Dworkin.
“We will certainly miss Bob Lilley’s expertise and his incredible knowledge of soccer. He’s been a guiding force as coach of the Rochester Rhinos and we are grateful for all he has done for our team and soccer in Rochester,” said Wendy Dworkin, co-owner of the team.
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