New York City FC's MLS Cup-winning head coach Ronny Deila has departed the club to take over as manager of Belgian side Standard Liege, the clubs announced Monday.
Assistant coach Nick Cushing will take over as interim head coach for NYCFC. Cushing and fellow assistants Rob Vartughian and Mehdi Ballouchy have signed new contract extensions. Previous assistant Efraín Juárez will follow Deila to Standard Liege.
NYCFC will receive compensation in the "low seven-figures" from Standard Liege for letting Deila out of his contract early, per a source.
Deila had been in charge of NYCFC since the 2020 season, now leaving midway through the 2022 campaign. He led NYCFC to an MLS Cup title in 2021, their first-ever trophy.
“Everyone at the club would like to thank Ronny for the fantastic job he has done here," sporting director David Lee said in a release. "With Ronny at the helm, we have developed an even stronger culture of winning and togetherness and have accomplished our number-one goal of bringing silverware to this club, to this city and to our fans."
Deila's record, Liege awaits
Deila had a 46W-29L-15D record across all competitions and led NYCFC to the semifinals of the 2022 Concacaf Champions League. They made the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs both years he was in charge. Prior to NYCFC, Deila was manager of Scottish club Celtic and Vålerenga and Strømsgodset in his native Norway.
Standard Liege are traditionally a powerhouse in Belgium, though the club finished a hugely disappointing 14th in the Belgian First Division A standings last year. They're 10-time league champions.
"This was certainly not an easy decision for me and my family," Deila said in a release. "However, I feel this is the right time to take on this new challenge and return to Europe.
“I would like to thank New York City Football Club and City Football Group. This is an incredible organization with extremely talented players, an amazing sporting department and fantastic leadership across the club including Ferran Soriano, Marty Edelman, David Lee and Brad Sims. Thank you to the fans, the passion you have for the club has fueled us on the field, and we couldn’t have accomplished what we did last season without you."
NYCFC are currently atop the Eastern Conference standings entering MLS Week 15. They carried an eight-game unbeaten streak into the June international break and are second in the Supporters' Shield standings behind LAFC.
“We know this was not a decision Ronny took lightly, but we understand his desire to return to Europe and be closer to home," Lee said. "He has been a true leader since joining the club and we wish him well for the next challenge in his career.”
Cushing takes over
Cushing previously enjoyed a successful reign as head coach of Manchester City Women's, winning six trophies, including the 2016 Super League title. He was named the FA WSL Manager of the Year in 2016.
“While it is never ideal to have a change of head coach midseason, we are excited for Nick Cushing to have this opportunity and have the utmost confidence in him given his previous experience as one of the most decorated coaches in the women’s game," Lee said.
NYCFC coach history
The Cityzens, who joined MLS in 2015 as an expansion team, have had three other managers in their history: now-Inter Miami CF assistant coach Jason Kreis, now-Crystal Palace boss Patrick Vieira and now-Galatasaray coach Domènec Torrent.