Armada FC Name Lionel Messi Mentor Guillermo Hoyos as Co-Head Coach
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (January 26, 2015) - The Armada FC, Jacksonville's new professional soccer team, announced today the hiring of highly-experienced Argentinian coach Guillermo Hoyos (Gee-ler-moe Hoy-oss) to work alongside current head coach José Luis Villarreal. Hoyos holds an impressive pedigree as a soccer player and coach including coaching international soccer superstar Lionel Messi at FC Barcelona B.
Hoyos and Villarreal, close friends who have previously worked together, will serve the Armada FC as co-head coaches, working together to guide the team both strategically and in player development as the team begins play in the 2015 North American Soccer League this spring. Together, Villarreal and Hoyos bring a combined 67 years of professional playing and coaching experience to Jacksonville.
The Armada FC also announced that it is adding three experienced assistant coaches to its coaching staff: Colombian Edison Ibarra (E-bar-ra), Venezuelan Rafael Perez Niño (Neen-yoh) and Argentinian Sebastian Fabres (Fab-res).
"This is an exciting development for our team," said Armada FC General Manager Dario Sala, commenting on the addition of Hoyos. "He and José know each other very well and have worked together in the past and the chance to double-up on our coaching experience and knowledge was a super opportunity for us to embrace."
Sala added, "While it is something of a unique structure in the NASL and American sports in general, having co-head coaches in soccer leagues in other parts of the world is not uncommon; such as the "Dream Team" of Johan Cruyff and Charly Rexach at FC Barcelona from 1988-96 and Brian Clough and Peter Taylor in England with Derby County and Nottingham Forest in the 1970s and 1980s. We are looking forward to having two highly-experienced coaches in José and Guillermo serve the Armada as we strive to bring the success we are looking for and expect on the pitch."
Villarreal and Hoyos previously worked together from 2005-07, recruiting and training top South American talent at Academy REDH in Venezuela. Villarreal joined the Armada FC in November, 2014 and will continue to direct the team strategically and tactically, while continuing to work in recruiting and scouting and directing the players on the practice pitch. He will continue to serve as the media's source for interviews. Hoyos' emphasis will be on player development and establishing reserve and youth programs and structures for Armada FC.
"I am thrilled to be joined here in the Jacksonville by my good friend Guillermo," Villarreal said, welcoming the appointment of his former colleague. "We not only share the same coaching philosophy, approach to the style of play and work ethic, we also share a friendship of 27 years. We have both worked together in the past and I am looking forward to him adding his considerable knowledge and experience to our efforts here at the Armada and sharing the head coaching responsibilities with him."
Hoyos' coaching experience includes Spanish national youth league championships in 2003-04 and 2004-05 as head coach of FC Barcelona B from 2001-05. He has also coached in Cyprus, Greece and Argentina. Hoyos moved on to coach Aris of the Greek Super League in 2006-07 prior to moving on to Greek Super League club Atromitos in 2007-08. He also coached Greek clubs PAS Giannina, Panserraikos and Anorthosis Famagusta before making the move to Bolivia's First Division for the 2011-12 season, where he led Club Bolivar to the knockout stage of Copa Libertadores, something that had not been done in 12 years.
Hoyos moved on to Colombian First Division side Once Caldes in 2012-13 before returning to Greece for the 2013-14 season to lead Iraklis 1908 to a promotion to the Greek Super League. He was most recently technical director for Argentina Torneo A side Talleres de Cordoba.
The CÃ"rdoba, Argentina, native had a 19-year playing career that began with his debut as a 16-year-old in 1978 with Argentinian Primera Division side CA Banfield. A member of Argentina's National Team and 1980 Argentina Olympic Team, Hoyos also played in Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Spain and Venezuela. He also played with Villarreal at Boca Juniors in Argentina from 1987-90 and won four Gold Cups along with the Copa Iberoamericana.
"I welcome this opportunity to work with José," Hoyos said. "We are both fully committed to pursuing our goal of bringing great success to Armada FC and the city of Jacksonville. It is very exciting to be teaming up again with my old friend José, and I am very excited to be joining the Armada in the club's inaugural season. I am fully committed to supporting José and continuing the great work he has already started in developing a strong playing identity and achieving success for the Armada FC both in the short and long term."
Ibarra previously worked with Hoyos as technical assistant at Anothorsis Famagusta, Club Bolivar, Once Caldas and Talleres de CÃ"rdoba. A native of Colombia, Ibarra also coached at youth academies in Venezuela, Spain and Peru. He also has extensive experience in Venezuela as a referee, officiating in Copa Libertadores and World Cup qualifying matches. He also worked with Villarreal and Hoyos at Academy REDH.
Niño, a native of San Cristobal, Venezuela, got his start in coaching as a technical assistant on Hoyos' Club Bolivar staff in 2011 after a 10-year professional playing career in Greece, Mexico, Spain and Venezuela. He also coached with Hoyos at Once Caldas, Iraklis 1908 and Talleres de Cordoba.
Fabres was previously Hoyos' athletic trainer at Talleres de CÃ"rdoba, where he was responsible for player conditioning and nutrition. He was previously in the same post for Central CÃ"rdoba in Argentina.
The Armada FC hits the pitch for its historic debut match against Major League Soccer's Philadelphia Union at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 7 at EverBank Field. Tickets are available to the general public, starting at $14 per seat, by visiting jaxevents.com, armadafc.com or calling the Armada FC ticket office at 1.844.2.ARMADA during office hours. Tickets for the match can also be purchased as part of a six-match half-season ticket from $12 per match and as part of a 16-match season ticket starting at $10 per match.
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