Photo: Courtesy of Connor Cunningham
Louisville City FC and Danny Cruz have agreed to a new multi-year contract establishing Cruz as the club’s permanent head coach.
On interim duty since late April, the 31-year-old has the boys in purple sitting atop the USL Championship’s Central Division standings at 16-5-7 on the season. Four games remain before a playoff push with Cruz’s goal squarely on adding to LouCity’s 2017 and 2018 league titles.
“It is an honor and a privilege to be the head coach at Louisville City FC," Cruz said. "I am fortunate that I am able to work with an incredible group of men in that locker room every day. They are the biggest reason this is possible, and I am grateful for that.
"I want to thank John Neace, Chris Harding and the entire board for putting their trust in me to lead this group. Brad (Estes) and James (O'Connor) have done nothing but support me this season, and I am thankful for the work that they do on a daily basis as well.
"While this is a special day, my focus has been and will continue to be on one thing — and that is bringing another championship to Louisville. I understand the expectations at a club of this stature and won’t ever take that for granted.
"Lastly, I want to thank my wife, Brittany, and my son, Santiago. Their love and support is what continues to drive me to want to be the best that I can every day.”
Under Cruz’s leadership, LouCity has fielded one of the USL Championship’s most potent attacks, tied for second in the 32-team league in scoring with 56 goals this season. The boys in purple have also sported a potent defense, with its expected goals against of 0.95 per game, best in the USL Championship.
As a result, LouCity holds +23 goal differential and has established its home Lynn Family Stadium as a fortress, losing there just once in 11 games since capacity moved to 100% in mid-June.
“We have been delighted with how Danny has handled the team since taking on the interim position,” said O’Connor, the club’s executive vice president of development. “On a personal level I have also really enjoyed working with him. Danny is developing into one of the brightest young coaches in the country, and we are thrilled to have secured his position here.”
From Petersburg, Va., Cruz attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, before launching a nine-year professional career, the bulk of it played at the Major League Soccer level.
Cruz finished playing for the USL Championship’s Real Monarchs SLC in 2017 and in 2018 shifted to the club’s coaching staff. Later that same year, he moved to Louisville as the top assistant to head coach John Hackworth and took over the interim role following Hackworth’s departure earlier this year.
LouCity has continued to play its traditional fast-paced, high-pressing style with Cruz in charge, navigating most of an injury-riddled season in first place.
“For me personally I am absolutely thrilled for Danny," said LouCity midfielder and team captain Paolo DelPiccolo. "He is the hardest working person I’ve ever seen in my life. He understands the game and the players so well. I don’t think anyone is surprised that he was given the job because of the work we see him put in every single day. There is no question he fits the Louisville City culture, and I know the players are excited to play for him.”