As the announcers loved to point out during Harrisburg’s away matches last season, Bill Becher had been the City Islander’s coach for all 14 of their seasons. It’s an impressive piece of information, especially when you consider that there’s teams in the USL who were on their second coach in their second season. But with the announced rebrand to Penn FC, there was some doubt as to whether he would be coaching his 15th season in 2018.
Penn FC finally clarified the situation with today’s press release as a part of the “Announcement Week” that they promised on Monday.
Rather than just cutting Bill Becher loose, Penn FC has chosen to retain him as a Technical Advisor going forward. It’s the smart play for the club because Becher has played such an important role in establishing professional soccer in Harrisburg. But with the massive changes that the league has undergone since 2004, the rebrand to Penn FC seemed like a good time to change things up.
Becher did share some words of encouragement in the announcement.
“It’s been a great run here in Harrisburg,” said Becher. “I’m looking forward to a new challenge in helping the first team to continue to have success both on and off the field. It’s an exciting time in Harrisburg — the future looks bright and we’re excited going into the 2018 season.”
Becher had also served as General Manager for Harrisburg since 2016, but he will not be continuing in that position either. Penn FC appointed Rush Soccer President and CEO Tim Schulz as the new GM for the club. Schulz has been involved with Rush soccer since 1989 and he has served as President and CEO since 2000. He also, like Becher, played indoor soccer for many years across several different teams. In fact, they even overlapped during the 1992-1993 season when Schulz was playing for the Denver Thunder and Becher was playing for the Harrisburg Heat.
It’s a little unnerving for Penn FC to announce that they have no head coach so close to the start of the season, but the club did indicate that they expect to appoint a new coach before preseason starts next month. Based on the hiring of Schulz, it’s likely that whoever is selected will have some history with Rush Soccer.
In the meantime, expect Penn FC to clear up a few more of their remaining questions over the next few days of Announcement Week. Perhaps they’ll reveal a few players or give people a glimpse of the Penn FC kit. They did follow up the news about Schulz and Becher with their new scarf design, so at least that’s something.