The Portland Timbers on Monday named former Inter Miami coach Phil Neville as the team’s new head coach through the 2026 season.
Neville replaces Giovanni Savarese, who was let go by the Timbers in August after more than five seasons with the club. Portland went to the playoffs in four of those seasons and reached the MLS Cup title game in 2018 and 2021.
The 46-year-old Neville, who had a long professional career playing for Manchester United and Everton, coached Inter Miami from 2021 until this June when he was dismissed. He was 35-42-13 as coach of David Beckham’s MLS club.
Neville was also coach of the English women’s national team from January 2018 to January 2021, leading the team at the 2019 Women’s World Cup.
Portland’s decision to hire Neville was controversial, and the Timbers Army Supporters group issued a statement over the weekend asking the team to reconsider after word of his appointment leaked.
The group cited some of Neville’s past statements about women on social media a decade ago. Neville has since apologized for the posts.
“We are deeply disappointed that the club has reportedly settled on a finalist for head coach who has a history of sexist public statements that run counter to our ethos as a club, city and supporters’ group, and who also lacks a proven track record as a manager,” the statement said.
Neville is expected to be introduced by the Timbers at a press conference on Tuesday.
Reporting by The Associated Press.
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