It was only a matter of time before Pat Noonan would leave Jim Curtin’s coaching staff and take a head coaching job of his own.
That time has come with the announcement Tuesday that he will rejoin general manager Chris Albright to try and reverse FC Cincinnati’s fortunes.
Noonan was known mostly as the former player who scored the first goal in Subaru Park history before joining Curtin’s technical staff in 2018 and has been a key player in the Union’s success as the MLS team with the most points over the past three seasons.
“Pat has done an incredible job during his time with the Union and has been an important piece to the team’s recent successes,” Philadelphia Union Sporting Director Ernst Tanner stated in a news release. “His tactical coaching style and investment in his players have set him up for a successful future. He has our appreciation for the work he has done here and wish him the best in Cincinnati.”
A former attacker who scored 43 goals in 183 regular season appearances in MLS, Noonan helped guide the Union’s attack and will probably be best remembered giving last minute advice to the penalty kick takers in the successful shootout win over Nashville SC that propelled the Union into their first Eastern Conference final.
“Pat has been integral to helping the players execute the club’s philosophy on the field and has brought his exceptional attacking acumen as a player to a young group that has improved each season he has been with the club,” Union Head Coach Jim Curtin stated in a news release. “He is more than deserving of this chance and ready to be a head coach. While we’ll greatly miss him here, I know he’ll be successful going forward as he starts this new challenge and wish him all the best.”
Curtin has been stumping for Noonan for the past couple seasons, telling media members during press conferences on more than one occasion that he was ready for a head coaching role. That he would end up in FC Cincinnati isn’t that surprising considering the hire of Albright, who was up until recently the technical director for the Union during Noonan’s tenure.
While Noonan is now officially part of the Curtin coaching tree he is also connected to two other notable MLS coaches. He played for Sigi Schmid and Bruce Arena during his MLS career and coached with Arena at LA Galaxy and the U.S. Men’s National Team. He also played for legendary college coach Jerry Yeagley at Indiana.
“He has demonstrated a track record of coaching success and we are excited to bring his leadership to FC Cincinnati,” Cincinnati GM Chris Albright stated in a news release announcing the hire.
Noonan becomes the sixth coach (already) of FC Cincinnati entering what will be their fourth season in MLS. He’s also the third staff member to join FC Cincinnati from the Union this year after Albright and former Union assistant technical director Kyle McCarthy left earlier this year.