Minnesota United names Adrian Heath head coach ahead of first MLS season

Minnesota United named Adrian Heath as the club's new head coach on Monday ahead of its first season in Major League Soccer.

Heath, 55, also served as Orlando City's first manager in MLS in 2015, though he had previously managed the club in the USL since 2011.

Orlando City fired him in July and the club went on to miss the playoffs for the second straight season.

"I firmly believe that Adrian is the best choice to lead this club into our first year in MLS and beyond," MNUFC sporting director Manny Lagos said in a statement.

"His experience in Orlando City, helping that organization grow and build the right way and the way he immersed himself in the fanbase and in the community was a critical factor in making this decision. We are thrilled to have someone with Adrian's talents and expertise at this club."

Minnesota United will move from the NASL to join MLS in 2017, playing their home games at the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium while building a soccer-specific venue of its own.

During his playing career, Heath scored 71 goals in 226 appearances with Everton and also spent time with Stoke, Espanyol, Aston Villa, Manchester City and Burnley.

He became player-manager of Burnley in 1996 and then coached at Sheffield United, and Coventry City before moving to the U.S. to take over USL club Austin Aztex in 2008. Two years later, the Aztex moved to Orlando in 2010, where Heath won two USL Pro titles.

"I've known Manny for a long time and he's always spoke so fondly about what's going on in Minnesota, and obviously when the job became available I spoke to Manny and jumped at the chance," Heath said.

"The most important thing for me is they have a project and a real plan in place. [Owner Bill] McGuire and this club have big ambitions, you look at the stadium that's going to be built in a couple of years, all incredible things to look forward to, but my job now is to make sure that we're competitive from day one.

"All of those other things are going to be great but it's what's going on on the field that's most important and that's where I'm going to be focusing my energy toward in the next two months."