Manny Lagos Named Head Coach of NSC Minnesota Stars Soccer Team
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.”