Lansdowne Bhoys head coach Austin Friel talking to his players. Lansdowne Bhoys Images
Feb. 16th, 2018
Lansdowne Bhoys head coach Austin Friel was selected as the 2017 Region I Coach of the Year by U.S. Adult Soccer Association’s on February 9th.
Friel led the Bhoys to the 2017 Fritz Marth National Amateur Cup, Werner Fricker Open Cup and the Manning State Cup.
The former League of Ireland player expressed that winning the individual award was a collective effort.
“It’s an honor to be the coach of the year,” he said. “A lot of hard work was done. Obviously this award is not just for me, it’s for the whole club and everyone behind this thing, just basically the whole club, not just me.”
Lansdowne Bhoys players, coaching staff and board members celebrating the 2017 Werner Fricker Open Cup.
Friel went on to explaining that having a strong team is what leads to awards.
“The key to win any award is having a successful club,” the 36-year-old said. “Then if you win trophies, you’re going to win awards, that’s just the way I look at it. I’ve been lucky enough that every year I’ve been the manager of Lansdowne.
“I feel that all the hard work brings trophies and trophies bring rewards. It’s good to just be recognized. The club is going to the right direction.”
The 2017 Region I Coach of the Year award is Friel’s first accolade as a manager.
“As a coach this would be my first award, so obviously I feel good about it,” the Irishman said. “It gives me the sense that I can win one more award which means for me to win more award I would have to be successful with Lansdowne.
"So if Lansdowne do well in the Open Cup this year, win the Hank Steinbrecher, win the Cosmopolitan League, win the State Cup then we could be up for this award again next year.”
Friel has been involved in coaching since he was 18-years-old in Ireland. He joined Lansdowne as a player in 2005 before becoming the club’s head coach five years ago. The Derry native shared that he took on the head coaching position of the club with a winning mindset.
“If you knew me as a player I hated losing so starting off as a coach I wanted to have a winning mentality.”
Friel’s long term goal is to coach at the professional level.
“I’m still young, I just turned 36,” he said. “I’m learning every year, I made mistakes. Hopefully going forward, maybe in a few years in time I might look to step up the ladder and coach at the higher level maybe in the pro ranks somewhere. But I won’t go there until I’m ready, until the right offer comes along.”
Friel will look to continue his prosperous coaching career with Lansdowne in the Spring as the club will compete in the Lamar Hunt U.S Open Cup, the Manning State Cup, the Hank Steinbrecher Cup and the CSL.