Championship club Reading FC announced over the weekend that former Philadelphia Union player Veljko Paunović is the new manager for the club.
Paunović had an illustrious career, playing all across Europe, including for Atlético Madrid. After retiring from soccer in 2008, the former forward came back for a brief MLS stint with the Chester-based club in 2011.
The Serbian international began his managerial career in 2012 with the country’s Under-18s and then Under-19s. In 2015, he was able to help his country win the 2015 FIFA Under-20 World Cup title in New Zealand, defeating a Brazil side that had players such as Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus.
After a successful coaching career with the Serbian youth teams, Paunović made the move back to the States in 2015 and accepted a job to become the head coach of the Chicago Fire. While in charge, he boasted a career record of 41W-58L-37D in 136 regular-season matches.
Although Paunović arrives to Madejski Stadium after helping the Fire make the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs once (2017) during his tenure, Reading believes he is the right man for the job, which previously belonged to Mark Bowen, who is now the director of football for the club.
“With vast experience of top flight football as both a player and a coach across Europe and in the United States, and with proven pedigree of successfully working with young up-and- coming footballers on both the domestic and international scene, I am confident Veljko can help take this club forward,” said owner Dai Yongge in a club news release.
“This has been a process and this appointment has been made only after long, careful consideration. After meeting with him, we found Veljko to be an exceptional candidate who impressed us immediately. I am sure he is the right man for Reading Football Club. I’m delighted he has agreed to sign as our new manager.”
As The Royals get ready to begin this season’s campaign at Derby County on September 12, while also hosting Colchester United in a Carabao Cup match one week prior, the club hope Paunović is the right choice to help bring them back to the Premier League for the first time since the 2012-13 season.