The Rowdies have appointed former player Nicky Law as head coach through the end of the season, the team announced Thursday in a news release.
Law, 35, spent part of the 2022 season with Tampa Bay as a midfielder. His first game as head coach will be Saturday against FC Tulsa at Al Lang Stadium.
Law replaces Neill Collins, who left to coach Barnsley FC of English Football League One earlier this month. Assistant Stuart Dobson served as interim head coach while the team searched for Collins’ replacement.
“I know firsthand the standard that has been set at this club, and I am so excited to have the opportunity to build upon that for the remainder of the season,” Law said in the release. “I’m grateful for the chance I’ve been given here by our ownership. My primary goal is to provide guidance and direction to this extremely talented group of players. We have all the tools to get where we want to be come the end of the year.”
The Rowdies acquired Law from Indy Eleven via transfer midway through the 2022 season. He scored two goals in 15 appearances, including the winner against Miami FC in the opening round of the playoffs.
He left after the season to serve as a player/assistant coach for Huntsville City FC of MLS Next Pro.
“I absolutely loved my time here as a player and am so delighted to return in this new role,” Law said. “The connection I made with the fans, staff, and players when I was here made it a really difficult decision for me and my family to leave at the end of last season. I left the organization to pursue coaching, and I couldn’t be happier that my path as a coach has brought me back to the Rowdies.”
Law developed as a player through the academy system of Sheffield United and made his Premier League debut as a teenager in 2006. He later played for Bradford City, Rotherham United, Motherwell FC, Rangers FC and Exeter City. He had 76 goals and 11 assists in more than 500 appearances during his 15-year career in England and Scotland.
In 2021, Law moved to the United States to play in the USL Championship league, with the intent of eventually shifting his focus to coaching.
“We are excited to welcome back former player Nicky Law as the Tampa Bay Rowdies head coach,” Rowdies vice chairman Matt Silverman said in the statement. “His proven commitment and understanding of the Rowdies values will undoubtedly resonate with our players, fans, and staff.”
The Rowdies (10-5-5) currently sit third in the Eastern Conference, three points behind first-place Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, with 14 games remaining in the regular season. They are seeking their fifth consecutive playoff appearance.