The Colorado Rapids officially announced the hiring of Anthony Hudson to be the team’s new head coach on Wednesday after he signed a three-year contract.
Hudson, 36, was most recently the manager of the New Zealand national team, which was denied a spot in the World Cup after losing 2-0 on aggregate in a playoff against Peru earlier this month.
He resigned from his position with the All Whites last week after winning nine games with 11 defeats and seven draws.
At Colorado, he takes over for interim manager Steve Cooke, who replaced Pablo Mastroeni in mid-August. The Rapids finished 10th in the Western Conference, just one point above the last-place LA Galaxy.
Hudson’s appointment has been reported for weeks, as sporting director and interim general manager Padraig Smith had traveled to New Zealand to see Hudson’s work up close. Sources said he came away impressed with how Hudson worked, and his commitment to playing a proactive style of soccer.
“This is a very special moment for the Rapids,” Smith said in a statement. “In Anthony, we believe we’ve hired one of the most promising young talents and we’re extremely grateful for the support shown by the Kroenke family and the KSE executive team who remain committed to our goal of bringing another MLS Cup to Colorado.”
NEWS: Anthony Hudson named 8th head coach in #Rapids96 history.
— Colorado Rapids (@ColoradoRapids) November 29, 2017
Hudson, 36, is the son of former Chelsea, Arsenal, and Stoke midfielder Alan Hudson, who also spent time in the old NASL with the Seattle Sounders. The younger Hudson was born in Seattle, but soon returned to England where he rose through the ranks at West Ham United, but never played for the first team. He later played for NEC Nijmegen before finishing up his career in 2008 with PDL side the Wilmington Hammerheads.
“It’s an exciting moment and a wonderful opportunity,” Hudson said. “From the start, I was impressed by the club’s culture, front office and vision for the future. I believe we share a philosophy, and now it’s just a matter of going out and getting the results that both this club and community deserve.”
The bulk of Hudson’s managerial experience has come at international level. In addition to coaching New Zealand’s senior team, he also coached the All Whites’ U-23 team, as well as the senior and U-23 teams of Bahrain.
His club experience started in 2008 with Real Maryland F.C., who at the time played in the USL Premier Development League, the fourth tier of the U.S. soccer pyramid.
He later coached in England with Newport County, then in the country’s fifth tier. He was appointed at the tail end of the 2009-10 season, winning four matches out of six, but he was fired just eight games into the next campaign after Newport won just one of its matches.
Jeff Carlisle covers MLS and the U.S. national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreyCarlisle.