Kevin Ireland joins USL League One's Northern Colorado Hailstorm
Kevin Ireland has joined USL League One’s Northern Colorado Hailstorm as Assistant General Manager and Academy Director.
Hailstorm currently sits third in the league standings, just three points behind top-of-the-table North Carolina FC. Under the leadership of fellow Football Careers client Éamon Zayed, Hailstorm is thriving and exciting developments are underway at the club.
The Windsor-based side will launch a women’s pre-professional team (who will play in the USL W League) and an Academy program, with both due to begin competing in 2024.
Ireland comes to Hailstorm from Colorado Rapids Youth Soccer Club, where he served as Director of Coaching for the Fort Collins region.
In an earlier role with Florida’s Orlando City Youth Soccer Club (OCYSC), Ireland worked with U13 to U19 boys in MLS Next and ECNL programs and was highly involved in designing and delivering the groups’ training programs.
Also in Florida, Ireland was Director of Coaching and Soccer Operations for Jupiter United Soccer Club. During his time in charge, the club’s competitive program grew five-fold and became one of the most competitive clubs within the state.
Before Ireland’s coaching career took him to the Sunshine State, the Scottish coach held the role of Director of Football and Community Outreach at East Coast Bays AFC in New Zealand. At East Coast Bays, Kevin developed and enacted a strategic plan to grow the club into one of the country’s top clubs.
As a result of this work, in both 2020 and 2021, the club became just one of six Northern Regional Football (NRF) clubs to achieve New Zealand Football Y Licence accreditation, which recognises well-run clubs that have proven they are operating to the best interests of all members involved.
Ireland — who holds coaching licences from the Scottish Football Association, New Zealand Football Federation, and the United States Soccer Federation — implemented a player development model and style of play for all youth age groups while working directly with first-team staff to foster a path for youth player progression. During this period, several players earned national team call-ups at the U17 and U20 levels for New Zealand.
The Football Careers client also built the club’s Skill Centre Program for U9 to U12, which received national recognition and was awarded elite accreditation status by the New Zealand Football Federation.
In his new role with Northern Colorado Hailstorm, Ireland will help elevate the quality of all USL programs associated with the club. He said:
“I am excited to get going with Northern Colorado Hailstorm. They are changing the game in Northern Colorado and I am thrilled to be a part of it. You just have to look at the state-of-the-art Future Legends Complex they are building and realize how impactful the organization can be locally, nationally, and internationally.
“The launch of the pre-professional women’s team in 2024 is an exciting project that I am ecstatic to be a part of. Colorado is long overdue for a professional women’s soccer team and Hailstorm is paving the way for this. I am thankful to the ownership and leadership of Hailstorm for bringing me on board.”