Home NASL & USL Ottawa Fury Popovic makes move from Swope Park Rangers to the Ottawa Fury

Popovic makes move from Swope Park Rangers to the Ottawa Fury

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If you can’t bring back Marc Dos Santos, you get as close as you can to bringing back Marc Dos Santos.

On Thursday, the Ottawa Fury announced the appointment of Nikola Popovic as the team’s new head coach. Julian de Guzman, who served as interim head coach after Paul Dalglish’s departure during the 2017 USL campaign, takes over as the team’s general manager. JDG will provide the players, Popovic will shape them.

Of course, when it comes to the Fury, Dos Santos still casts a long shadow. He was the team’s first coach, and was the one who led them to the NASL final in 2015. And, it’s impossible to look at Popovic without comparing his resume to Dos Santos’s.

In 2016, after leaving the Ottawa Fury, Dos Santos coached Swope Park Rangers to the USL final. In 2017, Popovic coached Swope Park Rangers and got them to the USL final. MDS is a citizen of both Canada and Portugal. Popovic is a dual citizen of Serbia and Portugal.

Swope Park announced in mid-November that the club and Popovic had mutually decided to part ways — and it was clear the move was made so Popovic could pursue another job opportunity.

Popovic’s quote from the Fury’s press release: ““We must build a very strong culture within Ottawa Fury FC. It is important that we have strong core values and a commitment to an attractive way of playing the game. Everything that I’ve seen in Ottawa and everything we have in place going forward gives me great confidence in the future of this club.”

Now, let’s look back at Dos Santos, talking about the Fury back in 2015: “From day one, we established a model of play for the club. And that did not change no matter the coaches or players we brought in. We stuck to our model of play, even when there were growing pains, even when there were several losses in a row. We believed that, sticking to our vision, we would create the right identity for the club. We’d create the right visibility of the club. And if we keep feeding that model, and by that I mean that we keep improving every day, then there are no limits to where this club can go.”

De Guzman said moving upstairs is the transition he’s been wanting to make.

“I took the time necessary to reflect on this next step in my career and I want to thank the ownership and management group for supporting me in my decision and supporting my appointment of Nikola as the club’s next head coach,” said de Guzman in a release issued by the Fury. “I am committed to this club and look forward to solely focusing on my role as general manager and building a club that we can all be proud to support.”

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