SAN JOSE, Calif. – The San Jose Earthquakes announced today that Ian Russell has been named the head coach of Reno 1868 FC ahead of the team’s inaugural season in 2017. The Earthquakes and Reno agreed to a multi-year United Soccer League affiliate partnership in June. The Quakes will immediately look to fill Russell’s vacancy on the coaching staff.
“I’m extremely excited for this unique opportunity,” said Russell. “I’m very thankful for my time with the Earthquakes and to continue on within the club’s organizational pyramid is a dream come true. I’m looking forward to meeting the people of Reno and leading a team they can be proud to support.”
Russell was the Earthquakes longest-tenured assistant coach, originally joining the staff in 2008. He helped lead the club to the postseason twice, while earning the Supporters’ Shield for best regular season record (19-6-9) in 2012. Russell was also instrumental in the Quakes’ international and collegiate scouting efforts, and helped oversee the club’s youth development as the youth club’s technical director. He served as the Earthquakes interim head coach for the final two games of the 2014 season and holds a U.S. Soccer Federation “A” coaching license.
Prior to coaching, Russell played in Major League Soccer for seven season, including six with the Earthquakes, tallying five goals and 20 assists in 134 games. He helped San Jose claim MLS Cups championships in 2001 and 2003, as well as the team’s first Supporters’ Shield in 2005.
“Ian has long been an invaluable and important member of the Earthquakes organization,” said Earthquakes interim general manager Chris Leitch. “From his time as a player to the last nine years as an assistant coach, Ian has all the tools and knowledge to develop young talent while overseeing an exciting and competitive brand of soccer for the Reno community.”
Reno 1868 FC is an expansion team that will commence play in USL in March of 2017. The team is owned and operated by Herb Simon, who also owns the Reno Aces of the Pacific Coast League, the NBA’s Indiana Pacers, the NBA D-League Fort Wayne Mad Ants and the WNBA’s Indiana Fever. The club will play home matches at Greater Nevada Field, also home to the Aces, which features a natural grass surface. The Quakes oversee the technical direction of the club, including roster composition, while Reno oversees the business side.
“This is a huge step for our team,” said Andy Smith, general manager of Reno 1868 FC. “With Ian’s significant background, both playing and coaching in MLS, we know our team will be in good hands.”
The Earthquakes and Reno 1868 FC will kick off their affiliation with a preseason friendly on Saturday, Feb. 18 at Greater Nevada Field. The match begins at 12:30 p.m. PT and marks the historic first-ever match for the USL side.