Loudoun United FC have announced that former D.C. United midfielder and three-time Major League Soccer Cup winner Richie Williams will be the team’s first head coach as its inaugural season begins in spring.
Williams will work directly with D.C. United General Manager and vice president of Soccer Operations Dave Kasper, D.C. United Head Coach Ben Olsen, and Loudoun United FC Technical Director Dane Murphy.
Williams said he was looking forward to getting to work immediately.
The team is scheduled to play its first game March 9 and its first home game May 3. Construction of the team’s headquarters and stadium at Bolen Park near Leesburg is ongoing, but it is likely that many home games will be played at D.C. United’s Audi Field in Washington, DC.
“We have a new opportunity to develop players, identify prospects in an area that’s rich with soccer talent while also competing at a high level in the USL Championship,” Williams said. “We have been working hard behind the scenes to build our roster for 2019 and we’ve got some work to do before our March 9 USL opener against Nashville. I’m looking forward to the challenge and can’t wait to get to know the Loudoun United fans.”
Williams was on D.C. United’s first roster in 1996. He made 191 MLS appearances for the team from 1996 to 2002, winning eight trophies including three MLS Cups, two MLS Supporters’ Shields, a CONCACAF Champions’ Cup, a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and an InterAmerican Cup. He was inducted into the D.C. United Hall of Tradition in 2011 for his service to the club.
The midfielder also represented the U.S. Men’s National Team and earned 20 caps for his country from 1998 to 2002.
He started his coaching career as an assistant coach for his alma mater, the University of Virginia, following his retirement as a professional player in 2005. The next year, he transitioned back into Major League Soccer after being named New York/New Jersey MetroStars assistant coach in 2006. He was named interim head coach in 2008 and was in charge of the newly-branded New York Red Bulls for eight matches between June 2006 and August 2006. Williams would take the helm as interim head coach again in 2009 following the departure of Juan Carlos Osorio.
In 2011, Williams was hired as head coach of the U.S. U-18 Men’s National Team and transitioned over to work with the U-17’s at the national level months later. Williams left the USMNT setup following the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup and re-joined Major League Soccer as Real Salt Lake’s assistant coach on Dec. 28, 2015.
“We are excited to secure a head coach with Richie’s level of quality and experience,” Murphy said. “He was a leader as a player for D.C. United in the early years of the club and we hope he can establish the same winning traditions with Loudoun United FC. He has worked with the U.S. Men’s National Team and has a thorough understanding of how MLS and the USL operate. We’re looking forward to sitting down and continuing to prepare for an exciting inaugural season for Loudoun United FC.”