Spokane Velocity FC made the next step in its team-building process by hiring the man who will oversee the soon-to-be assembled squad in 2024.
Leigh Veidman was announced as the first head coach in franchise history after a large and highly competitive applicant pool, according to owner Ryan Harnetiaux in a news release.
“I am humbled to be chosen as the first head coach of Spokane Velocity FC and extremely excited about what the future holds for the club and the community of Spokane,” Veidman said in the release.
The Liverpool, England, native has lived in the United States since 2008 after growing up in the Liverpool FC youth academy.
Liverpool is the most decorated team in English Premier League history.
USL Spokane sporting department consultant Gareth Smith said in the release there was an extensive search domestically and internationally for the head coach opening.
“(After) carefully following our evidence-based process that ranked each candidate, the choice was clear and conclusive – Leigh Veidman is the right person and professional to lead Spokane Velocity FC,” Smith said.
After arriving in the states, Veidman played for Iowa Western Community College, winning all-conference honors in 2008 and 2010. He has the records for most goals (41) and points (91) for the Reivers.
He moved to the University of Texas at Brownsville, again securing all-conference honors.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in exercise science while playing for Bellevue University in Nebraska.
A four-year career with the Toronto Lynx of USL League Two from 2010-2014 ran in tandem with his college career.
Veidman has spent the previous 11 seasons in a coaching capacity, highlighted by a 2015 job at Midland (Nebraska) University where he completed a master’s in leadership and adult organizational learning.
The past five seasons have seen Veidman as an assistant in the USL Championship, helping lead multiple teams to the playoffs, including a stint as an interim head coach for Energy FC in Oklahoma City.
This year, Veidman was an assistant for the Charleston Battery, who lost in a shootout in the title game against Phoenix Rising FC.
From the top down, Spokane intends to win with world-class soccer after investing heavily in the team and the facility, Veidman said.
Veidman said that was clear after seeing his values and goals aligned with those of ownership.
He added it will be important to have high-character assistants and players, especially in a first-year team.
“We will be working diligently to identify players who fit our club’s ethos and will ultimately help the team compete in the 2024 season and beyond,” Veidman said .
“Spokane – I am extremely excited to meet you all in person and work together to make ONE Spokane Stadium a fortress,” Veidman said .