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Meathman Influenced Jim McGuinness's Move To US Club

Meathman Influenced Jim McGuinness's Move To US Club
By PJ Browne
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The sight of a 'Charlotte Independence media conference in progress' sign sellotaped to the door of a Dublin office on a Monday morning ranks as an unexpected one.

Maybe the subject of that press conference should make it less so. Last week, Jim McGuinness was announced as the new head coach of the United Soccer League club on a three-year deal.

11 months on from leaving as Roger Schmidt's assistant at Chinese Super League side Beijing Guoan, the 2012 All-Ireland winning Donegal manager takes his first job head coach job in professional football.

"It actually came about through an Irishman, believe it or not," McGuinness explained.

When I came back from China, I was doing a lot of club visits. I was in New York and another one I went to was Colorado [Rapids].

There's a guy there, Padraig Smith [Rapids executive vice-president and general manager], a good Meath man, a good Meath GAA supporter as well.

I spent four or five days with them. The Charlotte club is an affiliate club or was an affiliate club of theirs last year. He had a connection with them. Once we spoke and spent some time together, he spoke with them and it developed from there.

McGuinness first spoke with Charlotte six or seven weeks ago. There followed a meeting in London and then a week-long visit to the club. The last fortnight was spent trying to get the deal over the line.

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Upon his appointment last week, club president, Jim McPhilliamy, cited McGuinness's track record of getting the best from players. He also called the 46-year-old a winner.

McGuinness confirmed that his success with Donegal did influence the club's decision.

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"It was a factor. When I met them in London, it was one of the things they said.

"One of the things they said as well is that 'You're an outlier and we like outliers because we are a club, not with a huge budget, so we have to do things a bit differently and we have to look at things a bit leftfield. We have a vision to move forward and we're very positive about what we can do moving forward.'

"They liked that about me. That was good for myself in terms of them being a fit. They're going in with their eyes wide open, they understand who I am, they understand what they're getting and they're still prepared to make that leap. All these things, feed into your decision."

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McGuinness also said that he did have a number of offers from League of Ireland clubs over the past year.

See Also: The English Media Irish Player Ratings From All The Weekend's Games

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