With the start of their first season in United Women's Soccer approaching rapidly, the Western New York Flash have settled on a coaching staff, naming Gary Bruce head coach and Marcelo Moreira as his assistant.
Bruce, currently the director of coaching for the Flash Academy's junior program and head coach of two boys sides, served as an assistant on Western New York's NWSL title-winning squad before the franchise rights were sold to North Carolina this winter.
"I couldn’t be more excited to be taking on the head coaching position of the Flash in the UWS, building on the organization’s NWSL championship last fall,” said Bruce, in a release.
“A sincere thanks goes out to Alex [Sahlen] and Aaran [Lines] for this brilliant opportunity," he added. "My experience with championship-winning teams will be invaluable and the opportunity this new team provides our local collegiate and post-collegiate players is phenomenal.”
Bruce, a native of Longmont, Colo., is one of three Flash Academy coaches to boast a United State Soccer Federation "A" coaching license.
Moreira, the academy's director of goalkeeping and a former professional 'keeper in Brazil, was also an important cog in the Flash's 2016 NWSL title, working closely with stalwart Sabrina D'Angelo.
Although they're no longer a fully professional side, the Flash's foray into UWS becomes the peak of the academy pyramid, giving esteemed "graduates" like Maddie Pezzino, Amanda Burns, Marissa Birzon and others a chance to continue playing locally, as well as lend an opportunity to advanced Elite Clubs National League (ECNL) U-18 players to compete at an even higher level.
While the summer 2017 schedule for United Women's Soccer has yet to be released, league play typically behind in the middle of May.