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New boss McCann will look to continue 'traditions of success'

By Sean Doyle, 02/23/18, 3:30PM EST


The bar has been set very high and Alan McCann knows this. Newly minted as Reading United Head Coach, McCann believes he can meet the lofty standard set by former United bosses Brendan Burke and Stephen Hogan. 

"It's an honor to be trusted by the owners and staff within the whole organization to continue the traditions of success. That success is on the field and in seeing so many Reading players move on to the professional and international level," McCann said following his appointment as head coach.

McCann earned the promotion to head coach after two very successful seasons as Hogan's assistant. The Irish duo helped United return to the playoffs, winning the 2016 Mid-Atlantic Division Championship. The pair also helped Reading United earn a historic victory over the New York Cosmos in the 2017 U.S. Open Cup.

"Hogan taught me a lot when I was a player and while I worked with him as a coach. Two things that really standout to me are the ability to be able to adapt, in game, to a wide variety of situations. The other was setting a culture within the squad that creates an environment that breeds hungry, professional mentalities," McCann said of his time as an assistant with Coach Hogan.

In 2012, McCann was part of a Reading United squad that was stacked with future pros like Deshorn Brown, Pedro Ribeiro and Leo Fernandes. The new manager says that lessons learned as a Reading United player will help him prepare his side, saying "my experience here as a player will be used to make sure each player and member of my coaching staff understands what a privilege it is to be a part of this great club." He continued, "It will also be used to remind them every day of the high standards that are required and to give them the confidence to maximize their abilities to get them to the next level."

McCann's appointment means Reading United will stay aligned with their developmental partners, the Philadelphia Union. "We will look to do it the way it is being done throughout the whole Philadelphia Union organization. This helps our players become familiar with the style of play and what is expected of them when they get their opportunity to play in front of {Bethlehem Steel Head Coach} Brendan Burke and {Philadelphia Union Head Coach} Jim Curtin."

The Dublin, Ireland native takes over a club that has reached the Premier Development League postseason in nine of the past ten seasons and qualified for the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup tournament in each of the last nine seasons. "The goals are very clear for us. Keeping the traditions of success going means we will be competing to win one of the toughest divisions in the PDL. That has been a goal since I joined the club back in 2012 and it will continue to be a main goal, along with competing to win the Eastern Conference and the PDL Championship."

Success on the field isn't the only benchmark for McCann. Reading United has built a reputation as a place future professionals play during their summer breaks away from their college teams as they prepare for the annual Major League Soccer SuperDraft. A Reading United player has been selected in the first round in each of the last eight SuperDrafts. In January, Reading United alums Mo Adams and Paul Marie heard their names called at the 2018 MLS SuperDraft. 

"Our tradition of success means we must continue setting high standards for our players moving into the professional ranks. We have been fortunate enough to have had 12 professionals come out of our 2016 and 2017 teams so this will continue to be our target."