NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former France international Patrick Vieira has been appointed head coach of New York City FC, the Major League Soccer club said on Monday.
Vieira, who has been working with the development squad of NYCFC’s parent club Manchester City, will take up his new role in January ahead of the 2016 MLS season.
New York fired American coach Jason Kreis last week after they failed to make the playoffs in their debut season in the North American league.
The 39-year-old Vieira played 107 times for France and was part of the team which won the 1998 World Cup and the European Championship two years later.
Vieira won three Premier League titles with Arsenal, a Serie A crown with Juventus and three more Italian league titles with Inter Milan before ending his playing career with Manchester City in 2011.
New York City Sporting Director Claudio Reyna believes the Frenchman is the ideal man for the role.
“Patrick was a legendary player and has all the characteristics required to make a fantastic Head Coach. His exemplary drive, passion and dedication have always marked him out as a rare talent and all of those qualities, alongside his understanding of the game, make him a natural choice,” he said.
“Patrick is a natural-born leader. He has played under some of the best managers in the world and experienced different leagues and playing styles, enjoying success everywhere he has been.
“We believe he can bring that knowledge and experience to take New York City FC forward in MLS. We are looking forward to him joining us in the coming weeks,” he said.
NYCFC finished eighth in the 10-team Eastern Conference of MLS this season, playing their games at Yankee Stadium, home of co-owners, the New York Yankees of Major League Baseball.
The record was particularly disappointing given the heavy investment main owners City Football Group, headed by Arab billionaire Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, had made in three big name players.
Former Spain and Barcelona forward David Villa was joined midway through the season by former England and Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard and ex-Italy World Cup winner Andrea Pirlo.
Reporting by Simon Evans, editing by Ed Osmond