The final coaching vacancy in MLS heading into the 2020 season has been filled, with New York City FC officially appointing Valerenga manager Ronny Deila as head coach on a three-year contract. 

Deila, a defender during his playing days, has been with Valerenga in Norway’s top flight since 2017, and previously also managed Stromsgodset in his home country from 2008-2014, leading the club to its first league title in 43 years in 2013. He then moved to Scotland in charge of powerhouse Celtic from 2014-16, where he won a pair of back-to-back Scottish Premiership titles.

“When the opportunity came up to join New York City FC as their new head coach, it was a dream come true for me to manage an amazing club in a great city,” said Delia in a club release. “When I come in, it’s important to continue to build on what’s already proven to be a strong foundation and to get some of my ideas across. The way I want to play and the way NYCFC has played is very similar. I’m a very attacking coach. We want to have the ball as much as possible, but also try to be direct when you have those opportunities.

“I’m really looking forward to getting going and getting to know the players in preseason and begin my time at NYCFC. I’m ready to see our supporters and hopefully we’ll have a wonderful relationship. I’m going to do everything I can to play good football the City way and I’ll give everything from myself to the club and I’m sure we’re going to achieve fantastic things in the future.”

Deila takes over a formidable squad that earned the East’s No. 1 seed in the 2019 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, though were bounced in the conference semifinals by eventual finalists Toronto FC. NYCFC registered a club-record 64 points, and now await their Concacaf Champions League debut Feb. 20 at Costa Rican side AD San Carlos. Meanwhile, NYCFC open their MLS slate March 1 at Columbus Crew SC.

The move continues a busy offseason for NYCFC, at least from a front-office perspective, as Claudio Reyna left to become the sporting director of 2021 expansion side Austin FC. As a result, David Lee was promoted from technical director to sporting director.

“With the benefit of time in the offseason, we wanted to make sure we found the right person to lead our club and we’re really delighted that Ronny has agreed to become the new head coach of New York City FC,” said Lee.

“Knowing we had a very strong group of players returning in 2020, we wanted to recruit an experienced manager who played in a similar style as we have done in the past few years, with a proven ability to win league titles and develop players. Ronny meets that criteria, managing over 400 games, winning three leagues titles and two domestic cup competitions, along with many players who have been identified and developed by Ronny that have gone on to have careers at the highest levels of football.”