JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Newly named Jacksonville Armada FC head coach and technical director Tony Meola started putting the pieces of his coaching staff in place on Wednesday with the addition of former MLS all-star and U.S. U-17 National Team assistant Jim Rooney.
Rooney, who will serve as Meola’s top assistant coach, was an assistant for Richie Williams – a former teammate of Meola’s at the University of Virginia and U.S. Men’s National Team – since 2012 for the U-17 National Team. Prior to that, he was an assistant coach in 2011 for Armada FC North American Soccer League rival Fort Lauderdale and also coached at the prestigious IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
“Jim is a respected coach in the U.S. Soccer community, and I am excited to add him to my staff,” Meola said. “As a player, he was a tough, hard-working guy, and that has certainly carried over to his coaching style. His experience will be key as we build our team.”
A native of the Bronx in New York City, Rooney was a midfielder who played with Meola at the Long Island Roughriders in 1995 and at the New York/New Jersey MetroStars in 1998 and 1999. Rooney made 116 career appearances in MLS with the MetroStars, Miami Fusion and New England Revolution. He tallied 21 career goals and 22 assists and was an MLS All-Star in 2001 with Miami after notching six goals and nine assists and captaining the Fusion to a 16-5-5 record to capture the Supporters’ Shield for the best regular season record in MLS.
Known for his toughness as a player with a blue-collar attitude, Rooney played college soccer at Fordham University from 1987-88 then took time off and held down a full-time construction job while playing in the notoriously rough amateur leagues in New York City before finishing his college career in 1993 at C.W. Post in Long Island. Following college, he signed with the Roughriders in 1994, where he remained until 1997.
About the Jacksonville Armada FC
The Jacksonville Armada FC is Jacksonville's newest professional sports team and a member of the North American Soccer League. The club set NASL preseason and regular season attendance records with matches against MLS side Philadelphia Union and NASL FC Edmonton. The NASL member teams are: Atlanta Silverbacks, Carolina RailHawks, FC Edmonton, Fort Lauderdale Strikers, Indy Eleven, Minnesota United FC, New York Cosmos, Ottawa Fury FC, San Antonio Scorpions FC and Tampa Bay Rowdies. Miami FC and Puerto Rico FC will begin play in 2016. For more information about the Armada FC, visit ArmadaFC.com. Follow the Armada FC on Twitter @JaxArmadaFC and Facebook at Facebook.com/JaxArmadaFC.