Manny Lagos Becomes Minnesota's Sporting Director; Carl Craig Appointed Head Coach

Craig was Lagos' assistant coach last season
Minnesota United Staff | Dec 3, 2015

Minnesota United announced Thursday that Manny Lagos will become the club’s first sporting director, assuming responsibility for all player recruitment, acquisition, and development as well as overseeing the sporting staff on a day-to-day basis. Carl Craig, last season’s associate head coach, will become head coach for the upcoming 2016 NASL season. Further additions to the sporting staff are anticipated in the coming months.

“I am thrilled about what this means for the long-term future of Minnesota United,” team president Nick Rogers said. “Manny is an expert judge of talent with a vast network of contacts throughout the world of soccer. He has been a critical part of why we’ve been so successful over the last few seasons. Just as important, Manny shares a clear, long-term vision for the club that will ensure that we will remain a model of success in the ever-evolving landscape of North American professional soccer.”

Rogers added: “I’ve had the privilege of getting to know Coach Craig quite well over the last three years, and we’re quite fortunate to have someone of his caliber as part of our organization. We have every confidence in his abilities, and given the continuity within our club that he embodies, look forward to a transition that will be close to seamless.”

Manny Lagos was named NASL Coach of the Year in 2011 and 2014, making him, to date, the only person to receive that honor twice. The team’s first and only head coach, Lagos led the club for six seasons. He posted a 78-52-59 (W-T-L) record across all competitions, led the team to five postseason appearances, and won the 2011 NASL Soccer Bowl.

As a player, Lagos began his career with the Minnesota Thunder in 1990. In 1996, he joined the MetroStars for the inaugural MLS season. He won three MLS Cups, first with the Chicago Fire in 1998 and later with the San Jose Earthquakes in 2001 and 2003. He also represented the United States at the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics and earned several appearances with the United States men’s national team. He returned to soccer in Minnesota as the Minnesota Thunder Director of Soccer Operations in 2006 before taking the job as head coach of NSC Minnesota Stars, which would become Minnesota United, in 2010.

“It’s another surreal day for me personally and professionally,” Lagos said. “This club has a lot of momentum right now. I am very proud of how far we’ve come and I am ready to embrace the challenges of the future. In the short term, that means continuing to put a great product on the field. In the longer term, that means figuring out how to create a sustainable environment of success and player development that recognizes the uniqueness of our community and our club. We want to build a consistent product that represents where this club is going, that our fans will love, that’s competitive every year and wins championships.”

On the transition of Carl Craig to head coach, Lagos said: “It’s one of the easiest conversations I’ve ever had. I’m excited about the continuity on the sporting side and about what Carl can bring to the team and how the guys and the roster will be able to embrace someone who has been working with them over the past several years. It’s a great situation for Carl and I am very excited for him.”

Carl Craig joined Minnesota’s coaching staff in 2010 after a long history of coaching in Minnesota. He holds multiple coaching licenses from several different federations, including a UEFA A license and top credentials from England, Netherlands, Italy, and the United States. The Newcastle upon Tyne native moved to the United States in 1994 to be involved in growing the game at the youth level. Last season he served as Minnesota United’s associate head coach.

“First and foremost I want to win championships,” Craig said. “I have strong working relationships with the players, the medical staff, and the front office and I am very excited about being given the opportunity to lead this club. I want to provide an entertaining style of football for our fans to love and enjoy. They better start getting some new songs together for next year, we plan on giving them a lot to sing about!”

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