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Manny Lagos Named Head Coach of NSC Minnesota Stars Soccer Team

2010 February 10
by Brian Quarstad

The NSC announced today that their first head coach of the newly formed team will be Manny Lagos.

The St. Paul native will continue to fill the role of director of soccer operations. The announcement is not a total surprise as the former Thunder President had been rumored to be the man chosen by the NSC to fill the position.

Please see IMS’s exclusive audio interview with Lagos as he speaks about the mentors he’s had for coaches like his father Buzz Lagos as well as other soccer greats like Bob Bradley, Bruce Arena, Carlos Alberto Parreira and Carlos Queiroz.

“This announcement shows we are focusing Manny’s attention on the soccer part of team’s operations,” said Kris Bjerkness, the team’s General Manager. Bjerkness is also the NSC’s Chief Administrative Officer. “Manny will be responsible for all aspects of the team’s performance, from player recruitment, training, right though game-day coaching decisions.”

Lagos played professional soccer for 14 years, including stints in Spain, France and ten years in Major League Soccer (MLS), where he won three MLS Championships – one with the Chicago Fire and two playing for the San Jose Earthquakes. He was a member of the 1992 U.S. Olympic team and the U.S. National Team. He has worked for and played for some of the best coaches in the world, including current U.S. Men’s National Team coach Bob Bradley, former National Team coach Bruce Arena, former Italian National Team coach Roberto Donadoni, Brazilian World Cup champion coach Carlos Alberto Parreira and current Portuguese National Team Coach Carlo Queiroz.

Lagos’ Minnesota soccer roots run deep as well. He was a star player at St. Paul Academy in the late ‘80’s and went on to be an All-American at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1990 and 1991. His father, Buzz Lagos, was a founder and then the long-time coach of the Minnesota Thunder pro soccer team.

Lagos’ history with the National Sports Center goes back to his youth playing days. At the first-ever USA CUP youth soccer tournament in 1985, Lagos led his St. Paul Blackhawk U12 team to the championship final, where they lost to a team from Palos Verdes, Cal. He was a member of the gold medal-winning team at the 1990 U.S. Olympic Festival, which was played in the NSC Stadium, and he played for the Minnesota Thunder in 1994 and 1995.

“Manny’s extensive knowledge of the Minnesota soccer landscape will be an invaluable asset for this team,” continued Bjerkness. “He has seen soccer from every level, from youth to the World Cup. We’re a new team, but we want to respect and build on the rich tradition of pro soccer in Minnesota; for that, Manny’s the strongest person we could hire.”

“This is a tremendous opportunity for me, professionally and personally,” said Lagos. “With a strong administrative structure in place at the NSC, I will be able to focus my energy on field-of-play issues. I think we have the ingredients to build a model team organization, and I want to fans to know that my focus will be on building the best possible soccer product.”

24 Responses
  1. February 10, 2010

    Congratulations to Manny.

  2. smatthew permalink
    February 10, 2010

    Good to read. Step by step this team is taking shape and naming the head coach is a big one. Again good to read.

  3. February 10, 2010

    As you mentioned BQ, this is no surprise at all. Hopefully the 2010s will be as successful for Manny at the helm of our pro team as the 1990s were for his father with the Thunder.

    Tough schedule and low team budget (from what I’ve been told), but I’ve got an itch that tells me we’re about to see a winning first season.

  4. Fuggle permalink
    February 10, 2010

    “…will continue to fill the role of president of soccer operations.”

    You meant director of soccer operations, right?

  5. February 10, 2010

    Corrected Fuggle. I sort of knew this might happen, but NSC shot this out without any prior warning that they would be putting this out today, so it caught me off guard while at work so I was scurrying to get the post made. Sorry for the error and thanks for the correction.

  6. Super Rookie permalink
    February 10, 2010

    The organization is coming together and for that I am thankful. Now, I just want to see some action on the player front as we are starting to see some top players signed elsewhere. Like MA, I have a feeling this is going to be a very successful team at the gate and on the field over the next few years.

    Congrats to Manny.

    P.S. Nessy in 2010!

  7. February 10, 2010

    Congratulations Manny,

    I am excited for you and the team. Lets schedule and exhibition game around memorial day.

  8. February 10, 2010

    I like the idea. Stars (not twin start-boy is this confusing) vs Kings.

  9. Jim permalink
    February 10, 2010

    “As their first coach”? That makes me think they’ve got their eye on the second already…

    Joking aside, progress pleases me.

  10. Soccer Boy permalink
    February 10, 2010

    I am waiting to see the scoreboard! When can we expect that fan poll to come out?

  11. February 10, 2010

    Sounds good to me Brian, you set up the introduction.

  12. MNSoccerGuru permalink
    February 10, 2010

    From the sounds of it, Manny has zero coaching experience. Correct me if I am wrong?

  13. February 10, 2010

    You are correct.

  14. Jeff Wolter permalink
    February 10, 2010

    Was Manny not an assistant to Amos before moving to the front office when Dean came along?

    I know he sat on the bench and discussed the teams strategy with Amos during the games.

    MNSoccerGuru,
    Just a reminder, many ex players have made the transformation to coaching very easily because they are experienced at seeing problems in the teams play at their own playing level, and also because they have little difficulty in solving game day problems they have encountered before.

  15. February 10, 2010

    He was not an official assistant coach. Tod Herskovitz was and then eventually Manny asked Donny Gramenz to be the assistant coach when he was president of the Thunder. And yes Jeff, look at the photo above. That is Manny sitting on the bench with Amos. I took that. Tod is on his right and Amos on his left.

  16. MNSoccerGuru2 permalink
    February 11, 2010

    @JW7. Having played soccer at a high level (like Manny has) is a huge step towards being an effective coach. But it is just one of the pieces of the puzzle. Being an effective coach (I believe) is a blend of many factors. Was Amos an effective coach? Was Donny? I think in many ways, I could say yes to both. However, coaches live and die by the results. Amos’s results were sub-par. Donny can say he got the Thunder to the playoffs, but the late game subbing decisions he made were hard to understand.

    There is a chance that Manny could be a fantastic coach. There is also a chance that Manny could be horrible coach. Without any prior coaching experience or statistics, I guess we will have to wait and see.

    Did NSC approach or consider any successful seasoned college coaches? MLS or USL successful or seasoned assistant coaches? Overseas talent?

  17. February 12, 2010

    In American football, alot of first-time head coaches will hire coaches with head coaching experience as their offensive and/or defensive coordinators.

    So, what are the chances we see Buzz sitting next to Manny on the Stars’ bench this season?

  18. February 12, 2010

    I’d say slim to none.

  19. Jeff Wolter permalink
    February 12, 2010

    MNSoccerBummer:
    Are you really Bernie Slavin in disguise?

    I think an ex-US MNT/Division I (MLS) player…. with time spent playing professionally abroad in Spain…Who also has USL 1 front office experience…who also grew up with a dad as a professional level coach… who was Minnesota’s first USSF A licensed coach… should be able to coach a Division II start up team made up up players he already knows well.

    Getting his A/B coaching licenses with the skills he has would be no real accomplishment for him.

    This is the most experienced person currently available for the job and we are lucky to have him as our coach. I think Manny will give 110%.

  20. February 12, 2010

    “Getting his A/B coaching licenses with the skills he has would be no real accomplishment for him.”

    I totally disagree with this and even Man U’s Sir Alex Ferguson is a big proponent of coaches schools and licenses. He has been quoted as saying there he thinks even players should take coaching licenses as it will help them in their growth in having a fuller understanding of the game. You as a C-license coach should certainly understand that.

  21. Jeff Wolter permalink
    February 12, 2010

    I’m talking about someone with his professional playing/management years of experience, not about what would be an accomplishment for you or me.
    There is a big difference between discussing theory and having actually played on the field at that level for many years under great international coaches already.

    I did not say coaching education was not important, you read that in yourself.

  22. MNSoccerGuru2 permalink
    February 12, 2010

    Jeff – You and I have to find a way to converse on these boards without the personal attacks… not necessary. We both want the same thing. I am sure you saw my comments on the other board, but I will repeat them. Manny would make a fantastic director of soccer operations. He has never been a coach before (that I am aware of). Gamble anyway you look at it.

    My whole beef has been, were a large pool of applicants considered before choosing Manny? I have firsthand knowledge that many many quality applicants applied when Amos left. They were not interviewed or considered, and Manny’s good friend Donny got the job.

    From now on, I will end any criticism I post with a happy comment… I can’t wait to sit in the beer garden and scream “goooooaaaaaaallll” every time Menyongar puts one in the back of the net. Great first signing!

    :) :) :)

  23. MNSoccerGuru2 permalink
    February 12, 2010

    One more comment on coaching. I have known many fantastic coaches (in my opinion) that have zero coaching licensure. I also have know many crappy coaches (in my opinion) that have their A license. I believe coaching classes and courses can only help a coach get better. I believe it can help them see the field better, run more effective coaching sessions, etc. Other coaches have developed the same skills by coaching at a variety of levels for 10+ years.

    Unfortunately Manny appears to have neither.

  24. alberto zangano permalink
    February 17, 2010

    hey does any one kno how to contact him

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