LI Soccer Vet Riley Named WNY Flash Head Coach

Paul_RileyPaul Riley, who has a long history in the Long Island soccer community, is returning to the Empire State as head coach of the Western New York Flash in the National Women’s Soccer League.

More recently the head coach of Portland Thorns FC, Riley becomes the second head coach in the Flash’s history.

“It was obviously very important to me to find the right successor and we couldn’t be happier to have Paul. He is an excellent coach and very well respected across the globe,” said Aaran Lines, vice president of the Flash.

[ FOLLOW US: Facebook | Twitter ]

Riley joins the Flash after two seasons with Portland, where he led the Thorns to a playoff berth in 2014. Prior to the NWSL, Riley coached the Philadelphia Independence of Women’s Professional Soccer to a 26-16-3 record. In his time with the club, the Independence reached the league’s Championship match in back-to-back years, 2010 and 2011, and he was named WPS Coach of the Year in both of those seasons.

[ • RELATED: Riley Headed To LI Soccer Hall of Fame ]

A native of Liverpool, England, Riley also coached the Long Island Fury of the WPSL and Long Island Rough Riders of the then-A-League. During his tenure, the Fury had a record of 48-6-8 and were league champions in 2006 and 2009, and won the regular season each year from 2006-09. In 2009, Riley earned WPSL Coach of the Year honors.

With the Rough Riders, a men’s side, Riley led the club to the 2002 league title, was named 1999 A-League National Coach of the Year and coached the league’s all-star team the during the 2000 season. In that season, Riley and the Rough Riders won its first Northeast Division title, edging the Rochester Raging Rhinos by one point in the standings.

Before taking the helm at the professional ranks, Riley coached at the collegiate level from 1991-97 for C.W. Post. There, Riley was named a five-time NYCAC Coach of the Year, 1991 NY Regional Coach of the Year and led the Pioneers to NCAA berths in 1994 and 1994.

“I would like to thank Aaran and the WNY Flash for this fantastic opportunity,” said Riley. “The league has grown substantially over the last two years and I’m excited to coach such a young, hungry and talented group of players.”

Riley started his professional playing career in 1988, joining the Albany Capitals of the American Soccer League. Over his 10 years on the field, Riley accumulated numerous accolades including two APSL All-Star teams and MVP honors. Playing with the Long Island Rough Riders from 1994-97, Riley ended his career as the club’s all-time leader in assists.

Riley and the Flash will open the 2016 season on Saturday, April 16 at reigning Champion, FC Kansas City. The Flash will begin its home campaign on Friday, April 29, against the Washington Spirit.