The Las Vegas Lights FC have announced the signing of U.S. Soccer legend, Eric Wynalda as its new Technical Director & Head Coach.
Wynalda is widely celebrated in U.S. Soccer history with many firsts for an American in the sport. Named by the U.S. Soccer Federation as the 1990’s Player of the Decade, he became the first American to start in three World Cups (1990, 1994 & 1998).
“Honored and humbled to become a part of the Las Vegas Lights FC family – it’s a club with great ambition. Personally, Las Vegas was home for me for many years – to have the chance to come back and build something in the city I love is truly a unique opportunity,” said Wynalda.
Upon retirement from the U.S. Men’s National Team he was the all-time leading goal scorer and entered the U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame in 2004. He is also regarded as the first American to achieve true success in a top European league when he achieved the status of captain for a BundesLiga club (Germany). He returned to the U.S. in 1996 to help launch Major League Soccer where he scored the league’s first-ever goal in history. In addition to the U.S. & Germany, Wynalda has also played professionally in Mexico with top-tier Liga MX club Leon FC.
His coaching career began in 2012 with Cal FC, an amateur club that achieved unprecedented success in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Wynalda led his team to the best-ever finish by an amateur team in the tournament’s history when it won multiple qualifying rounds before advancing to the fourth round where he beat MLS-side Portland Timbers FC. Following this success, Wynalda was named technical director & head coach for NASL’s Atlanta Silverbacks where he won the 2013 NASL Spring Championship.
Wynalda also has enjoyed a very successful media career, previously working for ESPN and hosting his own show on Sirius XM. He most recently worked 11 years as an analyst for Fox Sports.
“Lights FC has big aspirations. And today’s announcement further signifies our commitment to create a professional soccer club that aspires to both make Las Vegas proud while becoming the next great American soccer success story,” said Las Vegas Lights FC Owner and CEO Brett Lashbrook. “We are incredibly thankful for the community’s support in our inaugural season, but our expectations in year two must be raised higher. Eric joining Lights FC is a testament to the type of club we’ve built in year one.”
Raised in southern California, Wynalda resided for seven years in Las Vegas following his playing career. Wynalda is tri-lingual and speaks English, Spanish & German.