OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLA. (December 19, 2017) – The Colorado Rapids will be looking for a new Assistant Head Coach. Steve Cooke, longtime assistant has departed as Oklahoma City Energy FC appoint him as Head Coach and Technical Director of the independent USL side.
Oklahoma City Energy FC Appoint Steve Cooke Head Coach and Technical Director
— Colorado Rapids (@ColoradoRapids) December 19, 2017
Cooke came to MLS and the Rapids in 2010 to assume the role of Rapids Development Academy’s Alliance Technical Director. Two years later, he would join the first team coaching staff under then Head Coach Oscar Pareja.
“Although we are sad to see Steve go, we could not be more excited for him as he begins this new journey in his coaching career. Steve’s involvement with our Academy and our first-team has been a true asset and we’re thankful for his dedication and devotion to our club. We certainly wish Steve all the best in all his endeavors and future successes,” said Rapids Sporting Director and Interim General Manager, Pádraig Smith.
Cooke was an Assistant Coach under Pablo Mastroeni as well. He took over as Interim Head Coach when Mastroeni was fired earlier this year. He was under consideration for the position for 2018 for a time, but the club chose Anthony Hudson. Cooke was under contract with the club for the 2018 season and would have been an assistant under Hudson.
“Spending the past eight seasons with the Colorado Rapids has been a truly wonderful experience. I would like to thank KSE, my colleagues on the coaching staffs, the front office, the players, and the fans for the lifelong lessons and fantastic memories through the years. I wish everyone at the club nothing but the best for 2018 and beyond,” said Cooke.
Prior to coming to the Rapids, Cooke spent six years with Sheffield Wednesday’s academy system. He came to the United States after that, spending a decade with Sereno Soccer Club, SC del Sol, and Neusport Football Club.
Cooke holds a UEFA “A” Coaching License and recently completed his U.S. Soccer Pro License Coaching Course.
What it means for both clubs:
This is good in the long run for both clubs. Cooke was a good assistant with the Rapids. Given he just recently got his Pro License with U.S. Soccer, it was inevitable that he was going to be given an opportunity to be a professional head coach. This is a well-deserved opportunity for him and Energy FC will be a good environment for both parties to grow.
This also should be good for the Rapids. At no disrespect to the club’s decision to retain assistants from the past regime, I believe it’s important for new managers to be able to pick their backroom staff. Hudson is already bringing along a few he has worked with in the past. This is another open position he’ll be able to fill with one of his guys. Cooke was under contract with the Rapids for 2018. In no way was he forced out and I believe Hudson and Cooke could have worked well together.