CARY, N.C. (WNCN) – John Bradford, who served as an assistant coach under Dave Sarachan, was promoted to head coach of North Carolina FC, the team announced Tuesday.
In addition to being an assistant with the professional team, Bradford also served as academy director for NCFC Youth and technical director for the organization’s U-23 team. The team said that Bradford’s work linking the youth and professional teams made him an ideal choice for head coach as NCFC aims to focus on youth-to-professional development.
“John has been a key leader in our club for well over a decade and has been an integral part of building the youth-pro development pathway locally and nationally,” said Curt Johnson, President and General Manager of the North Carolina Football Club. “His track record is impressive, and it is fitting that with additional resources focused on retaining, attracting, developing, and promoting some of the best young players in the country that he be the person to lead us.”
NCFC’s youth academy has had 34 different players called into United States Youth National Team Camps since Bradford took over as academy director in 2013. There have been 23 to sign amateur contracts with the NCFC first team, 10 sign professional contracts both domestically and internationally, and 120 commit to play at the collegiate level, the team said.
Bradford also has experience coaching US youth national teams.
“I am excited to be a part of this next transition of our club,” Bradford said. “Our staff and players will look forward to earning the support of our fans and community with an exciting and competitive style of play balanced with providing opportunities for our deserving younger players. I’m focused on helping our ambitious, passionate young men make the leap into the professional environment.”
Mike McGinty will return as an assistant coach.
The move comes less than a week after the team announced Dave Sarachan would not return as head coach. NCFC had also recently said it would compete next season in USL League One, which is a division beneath the league it had been playing in.