FC Tampa Bay announces the hiring of former Tampa Bay Rowdies player and coach Ricky Hill as head coach.
Hill, who hails from England, began his soccer career at the age of 17 playing for Luton Town Football Club in 1976, scoring in his professional debut against Bristol Rovers. He played for Luton until 1989, making 436 League appearances and scoring 54 goals. Hill was part of the squads who won the 1981 Second Division Championship and the 1988 Littlewoods Cup.
“Ricky has the right mix of experience and knowledge of our league to lead this club. He has played at the highest levels in Europe and America and also has been a successful coach in America and abroad. Ricky has been awarded coaching accolades in several leagues, having managed some of the world’s top players today,” said President and Owner Andrew Nestor. “Ricky is a part of Tampa Bay soccer history and tradition, and we are proud to welcome him back.”
Hill represented England several times on the national youth teams and the U-21 team, as well as earning three caps with the Senior National Team between 1982 and 1986, including the 1982 European Championship Qualifiers.
From 1989 to 1991, Hill played for Le Havre FC in France and Leicester City FC in England before signing with the Tampa Bay Rowdies in 1991 as a player and coach. Hill played for the Rowdies for two seasons in the American Soccer League, which during this time the team was runners-up in the American Professional Cup and the ASL Championship. In 1992, Hill was named Coach of the Year and a member of the ASL All-Star Team.
“I am delighted to have the opportunity to join FC Tampa Bay as Head Coach,” said Hill. “I look forward to helping with the development of the franchise and working with all the members of the club to continue building a team that plays exciting, winning soccer."
After his time with the Rowdies, Hill was head coach of the U-19 and U-17 teams for Sheffield Wednesday and Tottenham Hotspus respectively, managing several current English Premier League players. Most recently, Hill was appointed technical director of CL Financial San Juan Jabloteh in the Trinidad & Tobago Professional Football League. While under Hill, Jabloteh won the regular season Professional Football League, the First Citizen Cup and the Caribbean Club Championship. Jabloteh represented the Caribbean in the CONCACAF Tournament in 2003, where Hill was awarded Coach of the Year for Trinidad & Tobago.