Another smart move from the Austin Aztex this week. They announced Monday that they're bringing popular and successful head coach Paul Dalglish back from MLS to head the Aztex as they move up to USL PRO next season. He'll be both head coach and technical director, under what Aztex owner Rene Van de Zande called "a long-term contract."
Dalglish had enormous success when he coached the Aztex in their first two seasons, culminating in 2013 with the USL Premier Development League championship, and PDL Coach of the Year honors. He also had an unheard-of eight players from those two rosters drafted in the last two MLS SuperDrafts. Following that 2013 season, he moved up to MLS as an assistant coach at Real Salt Lake. Now, with today's announcement, he'll leave RSL immediately, and will be back in Austin before the end of the month.
Dalglish, 37, played as a pro in Scotland, England, and the U.S., and won back-to-back MLS Cups with the Houston Dynamo in 2006-07. In a prepared statement, he said, "My family and I are extremely excited to be coming back to Austin. The challenge of leading the Aztex in their inaugural year in the professional ranks was one I couldn't refuse. I will work tirelessly to help build a team that our supporters including Eberly's Army and the city of Austin will be proud of, a team that will be willing to fight for their lives to defend the Aztex jersey whilst also playing the beautiful game in an attractive, exciting manner. I will be sad to leave the fantastic players and staff that have become friends behind in Salt Lake City. They have made me a better coach and a better person. Finally, I'd like to thank the ownership group at the Austin Aztex for putting their trust in me to lead the team and for providing me with the tools necessary to be successful." RSL, for their part, said they wish Dalglish all the best, and that they're "happy for Paul and his family to get this opportunity that he just couldn't say no to."
Manuel Buentello, the Aztex's head coach in 2014, will resume his position as an assistant coach and scout, a role he played under Dalglish from 2012-14.
The favored USA women got off to a rough start to the U-20 Women's World Cup on Tuesday, falling to Germany, 2-0 in Edmonton. They conclude group play against Brazil (9pm Friday, Aug. 8, ESPNU) and China (3pm Tuesday, Aug. 12, ESPN2), with the quarterfinals being played next weekend. Canada is hosting the tourney as something of a dry run for the senior Women's World Cup, which takes place next June and July.