Patrick Vieira has been named Manager of Manchester City sister club New York City FC of Major League Soccer. Vieira who is currently managing the Blues Elite Development Squad has agreed a three year deal with the club. Vieira who played for Manchester City from January 2010 until May 2011 won the 1998 World Cup and 2000 Euros with France. He also was a part of the Arsenal "invincible" squad that won the Premier League going undefeated in the 2003-2004 season.
"I am delighted to take up the role. To work with this squad is an exciting prospect for any coach.
"This established football set-up, together with a passionate and loyal fanbase, located in a special city which I know well, makes for an unparalleled opportunity that I am delighted to seize with both hands. I cannot wait to get started."
Major League Soccer (MLS) is a highly competitive league where local knowledge of players and rules as well as familiarity with difficult travel goes a long way toward success. Very little in Vieira's coaching or playing background prepares adequately for the challenges he will face in New York. Vieira is replacing Jason Kreis a highly thought of young American coach who had won the 2009 MLS title with Real Salt Lake.
Kreis' familiarity with MLS allowed him to build a capable roster, but the mish-mash of players that he found himself with after City Football Group (CFG) brought Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo over in the summer proved a difficult situation to navigate. New York missed the playoffs finishing 17th overall in a 20 team league and Kreis was sacked last week.
Despite the snobbish views of some in the European press, MLS is a highly-competitive league whose enforced parity via some odd rules, makes club management all the more critical. The lack of familiarity CFG had with MLS certainly played a part in this season's failure.
For Vieira, who is often thought of as a potential future MCFC Manager, this test will be stern. If he passes, he might just put himself at the top of the list to replace Manuel Pellegrini when the current MCFC Manager's tenure ends.