June 17, 2024
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Cavalry FC Leon Hapgood

Rumour: NYCFC Set To Hire Cavalry Assistant Coach Leon Hapgood

By on January 31, 2024 0 1258 Views

MLS heights are beckoning for Cavalry assistant coach Leon Hapgood, as per Joshua Kloke.

The English assistant coach – who has coached in Canada since 2008 – is set to be hired on to assist New York City FC head coach Nick Cushing.

Hapgood has been Tommy Wheeldon Jr’s right hand man since the inception of Cavalry FC in 2019, before which he had worked alongside him at the Calgary Foothills. In the CPL, Cavalry quickly established themselves as perennial title contenders despite falling short in two CPL Final appearances after having finished top in those respective regular season campaigns.

Cavalry FC Tommy Wheeldon Jr
Photo Credit: Mike Sturk

When the initial push to establish a CPL expansion team in Kelowna was underway, Hapgood was tapped as an early first-choice to be head coach of the venture – though movement with landing a team there has been sidelined, despite internal CPL documents having listed the franchise as fully-in back in 2022.

Leon would be the third coach to jump from the Canadian Premier League to Major League Soccer as assistant coach, with Pa-Modou Kah currently with Charlotte FC and Paul Stalteri having moved from York United to Toronto FC.

We’ve also seen other backing staff make MLS jumps in recent years, like York United’s Alex Bizzarri (now with the Vancouver Whitecaps) and Sam Gregory (now with Inter Miami).

There was also speculation that Forge head coach Bobby Smyrniotis has been considered in MLS circles, though the four-time CPL champion remains with the hammers for now.

Smyrniotis On Life After Forge: ‘You Have To Have Ambition’

Cavalry are still helmed by their inaugural head coach, Tommy Wheeldon Jr, who has won the CPL’s coach of the year 2019 and 2023.

Remaining in place is assistant coach Nik Ledgerwood, a former Canadian national team icon who has aspirations to land a head coach role in the league.

Martin Nash, who now leads York United, had previously been an assistant coach at Cavalry, who are evidently a powerhouse not only in player development, but coaching too.

It’s unclear when Hapgood will formally join the coaching staff of Nick Cushing, an Englishman who enters his third season with NYFC after making is interim job permanent back in 2022.

Header Image Photo Credit: Trevor MacMillan

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