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DENVER (Tuesday, November 19, 1996) -- Colorado Rapids President Bob Sanderman announced today that Glenn "Mooch" Myernick, the 1996 U.S. Olympic Team assistant coach, is the new head coach for Colorado's Major League Soccer team. Myernick, a Colorado Springs resident, replaces first-year coach Bob Houghton, who resigned September 9.
Myernick, tabbed by U.S. Soccer Secretary General Hank Steinbrecher as "the true rising star of today's U.S. Soccer coaches," has been a longtime member of U.S. Soccer's elite coaching staff after an illustrious playing career that included capturing college soccer's player of the year award in 1976, serving as the U.S. National Team captain in 1978 and an eight-year career in the former North American Soccer League.
"Glenn Myernick brings to the Rapids all the qualities that we are looking for to lead us in a positive direction next season," said Sanderman, who made the announcement at the Rapids headquarters in downtown Denver. "He is one of the finest young American coaches in the game today. He, as the U.S. Olympic assistant coach and U.S. youth national team coach, has a wealth of knowledge of today's young American players. His coaching style results in attacking and exciting soccer. He is readily familiar with the top players in Mexico, Central and South America, where we will be looking to bolster our team. And, just as important, as a Colorado resident he is familiar with and respected by many of the top leaders of the vast Colorado soccer community."
Myernick comes to the Rapids after spending the past five years in Colorado Springs, where he was positioned as one of two U.S. Soccer National Coaching Coordinators, responsible for player recruitment, coaching education and the Olympic Developmental Program for the entire western half of the United States.
During his time as U.S. Soccer's coaching coordinator, he also served as the assistant coach for the U.S. Under-20 Team, which placed eighth at the 1993 FIFA Under-20 World Championships in Australia. Following that, Myernick was the head coach for the U.S. Under-17 National Team that qualified for the '95 FIFA Under-17 World Championships in Ecuador and was subsequently appointed as the assistant coach for the 1996 U.S. Olympic Team in Atlanta, where the USA had its best Olympic showing ever finishing 1-1-1.
"I am thrilled to be a part of MLS in my home state," said Myernick, who is affectionately referred to by most as "Mooch," a nickname that was given to him by his sister for his antics that reminded her of the Walt Disney character "Moochie" of Mickey Mouse club fame. "Colorado is a very well organized soccer state from top to bottom and I am anxious to embrace the soccer community and make them proud of their Colorado Rapids.
"My recent experiences that have afforded me the opportunity to coach a variety of U.S. Soccer national teams, coupled with my own professional and international career fully prepares me for this exciting, new challenge."
Myernick's collegiate playing career began in 1974 with former NCAA soccer power Hartwick College in Oneonta, N.Y. After transferring to Hartwick for his sophomore season from a community college in his hometown of Trenton, N.J., Myernick immediately established himself as a collegiate All-American while leading Hartwick to the NCAA Final Four. Myernick spent much of the '75 season playing with the U.S. National Team during qualification games for the 1976 Summer Olympics, but was named captain of Hartwick for his senior campaign and promptly returned Hartwick to the NCAA Final Four while capturing the 1976 Hermann Trophy, college soccer's equivalent to football's Heisman.
Myernick, who became a regular for the U.S. National Team in 1976 and was named USA captain in 1978, left Hartwick early to join the hugely successful North American Soccer League (NASL), which included the New York Cosmos' Brazilian star Pele. Myernick started with the Dallas Tornado in 1977 as the first player picked in the NASL draft and earned league rookie of the year honors.
"I was in the right place at the right time," said Myernick, who was one of only a handful of Americans to establish himself in the mostly foreign-based player league. "The NASL was just an absolute explosion of soccer. At one time, the league was averaging more than 25,000 per game including more than 50,000 regularly in New York."
After three seasons with the Tornado, Myernick had a brief stint indoors with the MISL's Wichita Wings in the winter of 1979, and was then traded to the NASL's Portland Timbers. Myernick served as captain of the Timbers in 1980, and was named MVP and the Fans Most Popular Player in 1982.
A dispersal draft in 1983 sent him to the NASL's highly successful Tampa Bay Rowdies, where he played two seasons. The 1984 season with the Rowdies would team him with the Colorado Rapids' first allocated player, Roy Wegerle, in his rookie year with the Rowdies.
In 1985, after eight years as a professional player, Myernick retired and joined the coaching ranks as an assistant coach at the University of Tampa. He continued his involvement with U.S. Soccer both as a representative to the United States Olympic Committee's Athletes Advisory Council and as a member of the U.S. Soccer's National Board of Directors.
Myernick returned to Hartwick College in 1986, this time as an assistant coach. As a member of the U.S. Soccer Coaching Committee and a staff coach for the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA), Myernick's career had come full circle.
In 1989, he made his next step with U.S. Soccer as the assistant coach of the U.S. Under-20 National Team, which participated in qualifications for the 1991 World Championships. He was the Assistant Director of Coaching for the NSCAA, and served as a Regional staff coach for the Olympic Development Program (ODP) before being named one of two U.S. Soccer National Coaching Coordinators in 1991. It was during his tenure as a national coaching coordinator that he also took on positions on various U.S. national teams, including serving as Bruce Arena's assistant for the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta.
"During my career as a player I was always aware of setting goals. That philosophy has held true as a coach and being named the Rapids head coach ranks right up there as one of the most rewarding goals I have ever accomplished," said Myernick. "When you end up coaching in a league with Division I status in your own country it's a wonderful feeling of satisfaction."
Myernick lives in Colorado Springs with his wife of 18 years, Nancy, who is a registered nurse at Memorial Hospital in the Springs, and their son, Travis, 12, who is a member of the Chargers Soccer Club of Colorado Springs. Their daughter, Kelly, 15, is an accomplished ballet dancer, and currently attends the Houston Ballet Academy in Houston, Texas. His hobbies include hiking, skiing, playing golf and woodworking.