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US appoints Nigeria former footballer as U-16 men’s coach

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

A Nigerian former U-23 defender, Michael Nsien, has been appointed as the new head coach of the United States of America (USA) U-16 men’s youth national team.

Nsien was appointed barely three months after leaving FC Tulsa in the USL Championship where he had distinguished himself as an intelligent football tactician.

The appointment of Nsien was announced on US Soccer’s website ahead of the team’s participation in a tournament scheduled to commence on Wednesday in Spain.

Speaking on his appointment, Nsien described it as a privilege and promised to ensure that the team become a threat to their peers globally.

He said:“It’s a privilege to join U.S. Soccer as head coach of the U-16 Men’s Youth National Team.

“The chance to work with the leaders of the sport in our country is an incredible opportunity. I’m excited for the chance to help guide our nation’s best up-and-coming players as they launch their careers.

“Above all, I’m looking forward to representing the United States and being a part of the continued growth of the game in our country.”

The 41-year-old, born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA, was a member of the U-23 Eagles side that was unable to qualify for the football event of the Athens 2004 Olympic games.

The statement on the US Soccer website read: “U.S. Soccer has appointed Michael Nsien as the new head coach of the U.S. Under-16 Men’s Youth National Team.

“Nsien joins U.S. Soccer after four seasons in charge of FC Tulsa in the USL Championship, where he led the club to the most successful period in its history. A native Oklahoman, Nsien brings 12 years of experience coaching in his home state and holds a U.S. Soccer Pro License as well as a UEFA “A” License.

“Nsien will lead the U-16 MYNT in his first training camp as head coach at the U-16 Football Federations Cup, set for Nov. 16-28 in Albir, Spain. The USA will face Spain in its opening match and then play two further placement matches.

“A former Nigerian youth international, Nsien took the reins at FC Tulsa as interim coach midway through the 2018 season. After struggling his first two seasons in charge, Nsien led Tulsa to its two banner years in 2020 and 2021, reaching the playoffs in back-to-back seasons for the first time ever and the first time overall since 2017.

“Born in Tulsa, Nsien rose through the coaching ranks in his hometown. Prior to joining the FC Tulsa staff as an assistant in 2017, Nsien enjoyed a decorated youth coaching career with Tulsa Soccer Club. As Youth Academy Boys Director and Elite Team coach, Nsien won eight state championships from 2010-18, while helping more than 100 players go on to play college soccer.

“From 2011-17, Nsien worked as an Olympic Development Program coach/scout in Region 3 across the southern/southeastern United States. In his role, Nsien identified players for Youth National Team selection, MLS academies and European tours, working with a number of individuals that have gone on to professional careers. At FC Tulsa, Nsien coached USMNT forward Jesús Ferreira, recently named to the USA’s 2022 FIFA World Cup roster.

“As a player, Nsien starred for four years at the University of Dayton and represented Nigeria at the U-23 level during its 2004 Olympic qualification campaign. Professionally, he spent time with LA Galaxy’s reserves and the Portland Timbers in the USL.”

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