The USL club announced Tuesday the resignation of head coach and general manager Paul Dalglish, who had taken over the positions after the departure of Marc dos Santos in November 2015. He will be replaced in both jobs by assistant coach Julian de Guzman.
Change pushed up. Dalglish coached the Fury in its farewell season in the NASL last year, and departs with the team 10th in the USL Eastern Conference at 7-7-6 (27 points). The Fury is one point out of a playoff place and has played the fewest games (20) of any team in the conference.
“Paul informed the club that he intended to leave at the end of the season for personal reasons, however we jointly decided it would be better for the team to make that change now,” said team president John Pugh in a team press release. “This decision will give Julian the opportunity to get the rest of the season under his belt, starting with a lengthy three-game road trip that will give the team a solid week together amidst this midseason change.”
Dalglish, 40, played a decade of pro soccer in his native Scotland, England, and Northern Ireland, and was a member of the 2006 and 2007 MLS Cup-winning teams in Houston. He started his coaching career as an Dynamo assistant to Dominic Kinnear in 2009 and was head coach of FC Tampa Bay and Austin Aztex (twice) as well as a Real Salt Lake assistant coach in 2014.
Last year, Ottawa finished ninth of 11 NASL teams in the spring season and last of 12 teams in the fall campaign. Its combined 2016 record was 7-15-10 (W-L-T).
USL, Eastern Conference standings:
Dalglish is the son of former Scotland international Kenny Dalglish. He and his wife Brandi, who he met while playing for the Dynamo, have two children. In the team announcement he said, “I will always be grateful to OSEG [Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group], the Fury, my staff and players for the experience my family and I have enjoyed here in Ottawa,” said Dalglish. “I also want to thank the fans for their continued support of this great club. I wish nothing but the best for Fury FC and hope fans get to enjoy playoff soccer in Ottawa this fall.”
De Guzman's next step. Just last month the Fury honored de Guzman, a former Canadian international (89 caps, 4 goals) who played in Germany and Spain before representing Toronto FC and FC Dallas in MLS. He retired as a player after two seasons with the Fury (2015-16) before joining its coaching staff last January.
“First and foremost I want to thank Paul,” de Guzman told the Toronto Sun. “I knew that coaching would be the next step in my career, and Paul was a good mentor. I also want to thank Ottawa Fury FC for having the faith in me to lead this club going forward. I am looking forward to the opportunity and take great pride in what I have been entrusted with.”