Houston Dynamo FC has announced the hiring of three technical staff members from Sporting Kansas City. Houston introduced Paulo Nagamura as the club's new head coach last week and today announced the addition of assistant coaches Chris Martinez and Jimmy Nielsen.
Nagamura was a member of Sporting Kansas City for the past 10 seasons, first as a player from 2012-2016 before spending five years on the Sporting KC II technical staff as an assistant coach in 2017 and head coach from 2018-2021. Nagamura won three major championships as a player for Sporting KC to conclude his 12-year MLS career with two MLS Cup triumphs and three Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup titles.
Martinez has served as an assistant coach for Sporting KC II for the last four seasons since joining the club in 2018 from the Colorado Rapids, for whom he made 119 MLS appearances during his playing career. Martinez, who also has coaching experience with United States youth national teams, previously coached at Real Colorado and was inducted into the Colorado Soccer Hall of Fame last year.
Nielsen captained the club to Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and MLS Cup championships to conclude a 19-year professional playing career. Nielsen earned MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, MLS Best XI and MLS All-Star honors in four seasons with SKC from 2010-2013 and was inducted as a Sporting Legend in 2021. Nielsen became head coach of OKC Energy FC (2014-2017) and Hartford Athletic (2019) in the USL Championship before returning to Sporting KC this year as Director of Pro Player Development.
Nagamura becomes the eighth former Sporting KC player to serve as a head coach in Major League Soccer along with Davy Arnaud, Brian Bliss, Mo Johnston, Frank Klopas, Preki, Peter Vermes and Josh Wolff. Nagamura is also the second Sporting KC II head coach, in addition to Marc Dos Santos, to be hired as an MLS head coach.
On Wednesday, former Sporting Kansas City midfielder Benny Feilhaber was named the new head coach of Sporting Kansas City II. Feilhaber, who won three major championships with Sporting and earned 44 caps for the United States Men's National Team, will lead Sporting KC II into a new era in 2022 as the club prepares to compete in MLS NEXT Pro as the professional league launches its inaugural season.