Steve Nicol was relieved of his duties as head coach of the New England Revolution Monday. The former Liverpool star parts ways with the team he lead for a record 10 seasons, according to Revolutionsoccer.net.
"I'm very thankful to the Krafts for giving me the opportunity to be their head coach," Nicol said. "I’ve had some great times and been involved with some great players and great people. My family will always remain part of the Kraft family."
The club declined to exercise the 2012 option it held on Nicol's contract after it finished with the lowest point total in Major League Soccer's regular season.
Nicol's time in charge of the Revolution was highlighted by a period of sustained excellence, running from 2002-2009. The Revs were MLS Cup runners-up on four occasions: 2002, 2005,2006 and 2007. They won the 2007 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and the 2008 SuperLiga crown.
Those teams consistently played some of the most attractive and winning soccer in the country. Unfortunately, their core was decimated by the retirements and premature departures of key players. Replacements did not perform to the standards their predecessors set.
Nicol's 10 years on the Revolution bench is an MLS record tenure for one coach at a single club. He's fourth on the league's all-time wins list for coaches.
He first led the team for three games at the end of the 1999 season. He then returned to his previous role — coaching the minor league Boston Bulldogs — before rejoining the Revolution in 2002. He served as an assistant under then head coach Fernando Clavijo.
Seven games into the 2002 season, Clavijo was fired and Nicol was promoted to head coach. He guided the Revolution to the MLS cup final that year, where it lost in overtime to the LA Galaxy at Gillette Stadium. He was named 2002 MLS Coach of the year for turning the Revolution into a championship contender.
Photo courtesy of Flickr/nerevolution
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