Delia leaves NYCFC for Standard Liège, replaced by Cushing

Ronny Delia left MLS champions New York City FC on Monday to become coach of Standard Liege, and assistant coach Nick Cushing was named interim coach.

Cushing, a 37-year-old Englishman, becomes the team’s fifth manager in eight seasons. Previous coaches were Jason Kreis (2015), Patrick Vieira (2016-18), Dominic Torrent (2018-19) and Delia (2020-22).

Cushing spent the 2013-2020 period as manager of the Manchester City women’s team, which, like NYCFC, is part of the City Football Group. He takes over NYCFC with the team in first place in the Eastern Conference with 26 points after 13 games, one point ahead of Philadelphia.

NYCFC is the fourth team of the league’s 28 teams to change coaches this season. Matías Almeyda of San Jose was fired on April 18, Hernán Losada of DC on April 20 and Miguel Angel Ramírez of Charlotte on May 31.

Delia led NYCFC to their first MLS title last season, beating Portland on penalties in the final. He managed Norway’s Strømsgodset from 2008-2014, Glasgow Celtic in Scotland from 2014-16 and Norway’s Vålerenga from 2017-20.

Standard Liege finished 14th in the 18-team Belgian Premier League with nine wins, 16 losses and nine draws for 36 points, eight above the relegation zone. Mbaye Leye was fired as a coach in October and replaced by Luka Elsner, who was fired at the end of the season.

Liege was bought in March by Miami-based 777 Partners, which owns Italian Genoa and Brazilian Vasco da Gama, as well as a stake in Spaniard Sevilla.

Fergal Harkin, who had been responsible for Manchester City’s courses and partnerships, left last month to become the sporting director of Liege.

Assistant coach Efraín Juárez also left NYCFC for Liège.

NYC said Cushing and assistant coaches Rob Vartughian and Mehdi Ballouchy have agreed to long-term contracts.


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Sandy A. Greer