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Rhode Island FC Announce Khano Smith as 1st Head Coach
Smith will be the first coach in club history
Rhode Island FC, the new USL Championship club set to kick off in Pawtucket in March 2024, have announced their first head coach and general manager, Khano Smith.
Smith, 41, will join the team shortly, after completing his duties as assistant Head Coach at USL Championship side Birmingham Legion FC, where he has been for the last four years. His time there has been successful, with the team finishing as high as second, and reaching the Conference Semifinals in 2021.
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Smith has had ties to the New England area that spans his entire career, including five seasons playing for the New England Revolution and a year-long stint as the assistant coach of the collegiate Southern New Hampshire Penman, who won 19 of their 21 games during his tenure.
“Khano Smith is one of the brightest and fastest rising coaching talents in North American soccer, said RIFC chairman and co-founder Brett Johnson. “He has a well-earned reputation amongst his peers for getting the most out of his players and building a culture of excellence.
“Khano will establish a winning tradition on the pitch, and he’ll be an ambassador to Rhode Island’s amazing soccer community,” Johnson added. “I am confident that he will lead our soccer operations in the right direction and help build a strong foundation for success.”
Smith will be responsible for choosing the technical staff, roster development, and will lead the team’s on-pitch operations. Rhode Islanders can expect him to hit the ground running in developing a side that can compete for silverware in the USL Championship and the US Open Cup.
“Khano hits the mark on all the attributes we were looking for in a coach and there is no one better equipped than him to create the opening chapters of a storied winning tradition for Rhode Island FC,” said Michael Parkhurst, co-founder of RIFC and former New England Revolution and US Men’s National Team player.
Smith is excited to be back in New England.
“I am honored and humbled to be back in New England. I’m excited to build a winning culture with Rhode Island FC,” Smith said, regarding his new appointment. “Rhode Islanders deserve a team they can call their own and I intend to build a side that every Rhode Islander will be proud of.”
Smith expects to begin his tenure in late March.