Christie Rampone discusses strategy with assistant coach Mike Lyons (Photo by Robyn McNeil)
Mike Lyons Returns to Staff after 2009 WPS Title Run
Somerset, N.J. (Wednesday, October 14, 2009) – Defending Women’s Professional Soccer champion Sky Blue FC announces today the staff that head coach Pauliina Miettinen will take into its 2010 title defense. Returning to the bench next season will be assistant coach Mike Lyons, with Finnish U-19 National Team head coach Anne Parnila and goalkeeper coach Rick Stainton joining the staff.
“I am excited about the fact that we have our staff together,” Miettinen commented. “Everybody in this team is dedicated, hard working and committed to excellence. We also have a great mix of experience and knowledge, which is beneficial to the players and the game itself. Now we have everything in place so we can concentrate on organizing the best people to play for Sky Blue FC and continue the success the club has had.”
Lyons returns to the bench after assisting Christie Rampone, a player he began coaching at the youth level, in bringing the inaugural WPS Championship presented by MedImmune to Sky Blue FC in 2009. He had an extensive coaching history prior to joining the staff, including a stop with the men’s soccer program at the University of Notre Dame. He has also manned the sidelines for the New Jersey Girl’s Olympic Development Program and led Wall Township (NJ) High School to four state championships.
“Going into next year, we look to build upon what was created at the end of this past season,” Lyons remarked. “Our players truly enjoy playing with one another, and they enjoy playing at a high level. Overall, that creates a great environment for soccer.”
A key person that aided Lyons in the creation of that environment was Rampone, who looks to return to the field solely as a player about midway through next season following the birth of her second child.
Parnila comes to the staff of Miettinen with an impressive resume as both a player and a coach. The former Finnish international capped 39 times for her national team and enjoyed a 20-year career as a player in both Finland and the United States. She began coaching in the Finnish Premier League in 2000 and captured her first League Cup three years later as the co-head coach of Malmin Palloseura before winning her first League Cup as a full head coach at HJK Helsinki in 2006. Parnila began coaching at the national team level when she joined the U-17 staff in 2005, and she took over as head coach of the U-19 Finnish National Team in 2008. A couple of the personal accolades she has achieved as a coach include being named the Premier League Coach of the Year in 2003 and the Coach of the Year in Uusimaa County in 2005.
Stainton brings to Sky Blue FC a bit of local flavor with coaching experience at various levels within New Jersey. After receiving his degree from Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont, he served as a coach for the boy’s team at Brick Memorial (NJ) High School for five seasons before returning to his alma mater to become the head coach of the women’s program. His next two stops were as head coach of the women’s team at Caldwell (NJ) College and as an assistant at Rider (NJ) University. In addition to working as a goalkeeper coach for the New Jersey Wildcats of the USL W-League, Stainton currently serves as the administrator of the women’s soccer program at Seton Hall University alongside head coach Kazbek Tambi, who is also the current head coach of the U-17 U.S. Women’s National Team.
"This is a staff with incredible experience, both nationally and internationally,” Sky Blue FC General Manager Gerry Marrone stated about the coaching staff. “In addition, Sky Blue FC is proud to be only the second team in the nine-team Women's Professional Soccer league with both female head and assistant coaches. What's more, the team is the only one that can boast a WPS Championship coach in Mike Lyons. It's a great start for the 2010 season!”