Jacksonville Sports Day

NASL: Jacksonville Armada FC Fires Coach Tony Meola

Jacksonville Armada FC owner and CEO Mark Frisch announced on Sunday the club has parted ways with head coach and technical director Tony Meola.

The Armada currently sits 11th place on the North American Soccer League Fall Season and Combined Season table. Jacksonville is winless in a club-record six straight matches and allowed a club-record five goals in the Armada’s 5-2 loss to Indy Eleven last Wednesday night.

“I will never waver in my commitment to our fans of giving them a team that competes for championships,” said Armada FC owner and CEO Mark Frisch. “Unfortunately, our results this season have not reflected that promise. After much thought and careful consideration, I strongly believe this is the best decision to make for our club, players and loyal supporters.”

Meola was hired in November 2015 and posted an overall record of 2W-6D-10L, including a 1-2-5 record in the Fall Season and 1-4-5 showing in the Spring Season.

The club also parted ways with assistant coach Jim Rooney, who joined Meola’s staff in November.

“I am appreciative of Tony’s and Jim’s contributions to our club and wish them the best in their future endeavors,” Frisch said.

Assistant coach Mark Lowry has been named the interim head coach for the remainder of the 2016 Fall Season.

Lowry joined the Armada FC in September 2015 as an assistant coach under former Armada FC interim head coach Eric Dade and was retained by Meola.

A native of Birmingham, England, he came to Jacksonville following four years as a coach at Orlando City SC’s U.S. Soccer Development Academy program and coach for Orlando City’s U-23 PDL squad. Prior to Orlando, Lowry gained extensive experience as a player, academy coach and scout in the English professional system. Lowry was a player scout and academy coach for Wolverhampton Wanderers FC in 2009 (then EPL) and a player scout for Birmingham City FC in 2007 and 2008 (then EPL). He currently holds his UEFA “A” coaching license.

“Since joining our club in 2015, Mark has shown excellent leadership and a keen ability to develop talent,” Frisch said. “I am confident that Mark can guide our team and show significant improvement for the remainder of the season.”

Armada U-23 head coach Pat Cannon and U-23 goalkeeper coach Daryl Sattler will join the Armada FC first team as Lowry’s assistants. Cannon, who also served on Dade’s staff in 2015, recently led the Armada U-23 team to a 5-3-2 record and second-place finish in the NPSL Sunshine Conference.

In addition, assistant technical director Nathan Walter will take over as the club’s technical director. Walter joined the Armada FC in 2013 as employee No. 2. He was the club’s director of soccer operations before being promoted to assistant technical director in December 2015.

A native of Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, England, he worked for Football Development Schools, a partner of English Premier League club West Bromwich Albion FC, for four years prior to moving to the United States in 2011.

“This is a well-deserved opportunity for Nathan,” Frisch said. “He has shown a tremendous dedication to our club and strong sense of finding players that fit in well with the Armada FC. I look forward to seeing him shape a top-caliber roster as our technical director.”

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