The Philadelphia Union promoted one of their own on Tuesday. Ryan Richter fills the hole left by Pat Noonan as Union’s first-team assistant coach. Richter, once a Union draftee and player, has been a coach of the U-12’s, U-15’s, and U-17’s in the academy; as well as, the director of the Philadelphia Union Junior Academy. This hire continues the trend of the Union building from within.
Union promote Richter
Ryan has been a great asset to the Union’s ranks since he joined the Union’s academy system. He had a good playing career in MLS, and most notably in the NASL. Now he’ll bring his knowledge of the game as a player and a coach to the Union’s first team. The hire makes a lot of sense in many ways, but don’t take my words for it.
“We’re thrilled to have Ryan join our first team staff as an assistant coach. Since joining the organization as a player, he has developed into an exceptional coach with a proven record of developing top young talent. His teams were quite successful on the pitch, but just as importantly, they showed the mentality and aggression our philosophy demands. This club is dedicated to success through developing both top young players and coaches, and we believe Ryan is another Homegrown talent that can help our club toward our goals.”– Philadelphia Union Sporting Director, Ernst Tanner
This promotion fits the Union’s ethos. Tanner sees how he has developed youth and thinks that Richter can do just that with the first team. The Union will keep promoting academy players to the homegrown ranks. Richter will be tasked with helping get the most out of those players with head coach Jim Curtin.
An accomplished youth coach coming up through the ranks
This promotion doesn’t just come from developing good youth players. Richter has led youth teams with the passion and intensity the Union wants in their first team. He brought the U-15’s to the first-ever MLS Next Cup Final after winning four playoff matches. He knows how to get the most from his group, which is something head coach Curtin admires.
“We’re a club that not only believes in young players but also young coaches. I got my chance after spending time with our academy and through a similar path, Ryan has earned the opportunity to join our first-team staff and help us implement our philosophy. I’ve worked with Ryan a lot during our shared time with the club and I’ve seen firsthand what a great coach he is. I’m confident he’s the right person to step in and contribute to this culture of success that our veterans have helped build and that allows our young players to thrive.”– Philadelphia Union Head Coach, Jim Curtin
The Union is a club that develops top players and now coaches. Could it be that Richter is being promoted to become the next head coach when Curtin’s current contract runs out? The trajectory seems to be very similar, but for now, Richter will be tasked with helping Curtin and the Union do something they’ve never done, win an MLS Cup. He’ll start that task by taking over the role that Pat Noonan had in previous years.
Taking over for Noonan
Now FC Cincinnati coach, Pat Noonan, was Jim Curtin’s right-hand man. Noonan ran training sessions and was often the guy that Curtin turned to on gameday when discussing decisions that needed to be made. Could it be that Richter is now that guy? He ran training sessions on the first day of preseason training so that may be! Richter took the time to thank those that gave him the opportunity in the team’s press release.
“I’d like to thank Ernst Tanner and Jim Curtin for the opportunity to join the first-team staff. I’m excited to help build on the culture and philosophy that has driven the club to success over the past seasons. I’d like to thank Richie and Steve Graham, Iain Munro, and Tommy Wilson for their support of me over the past three and a half years working in the academy. I’d also like to thank my colleagues, family, and most importantly the players that I have worked with during my time in the academy. I look forward to seeing their development over the next few years and hope many of them can continue to make the step to the first team.”– Philadelphia Union Assistant Coach, Ryan Richter
Richter has a role to play on how the Union will do in 2022, and in the years that follow. It will be interesting as he knows the next crop of players rising through the academy very well. Could it be that this hire helps the first team, develops the current homegrowns, and identify the next homegrowns in the academy? That surely will be the idea now as the Union’s coaching staff is put together. Now it’s time for them to focus on the goal of 2022, win MLS Cup.
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Mandatory Credit: PHILADELPHIA UNION, ANDREW ZWARYCH