The Celtic connection in the MLS has once again grown stronger today after the appointment of Efrain Juarez to New York City’s coaching staff.

The Mexican, who spent two years at Parkhead between 2010 and 2012, has teamed up with former Celtic manager Ronny Deila in the Big Apple. It comes after Deila’s appointment back in January.

Deila and Juarez’s relationship goes back to their time together with Valarenga in Norway. Juarez spent time there in 2019 towards the end of Deila’s reign. The move also comes just two games into the MLS season as Deila gets his house in order at the start of what’s going to be a big season for both men.

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The duo of course never worked with each other at Celtic. Deila arrived two years after Juarez had left the club for Mexico. Deila would then leave Parkhead himself two years later, and it seems as though a positive relationship has been struck since then.

Juarez also joins New York having already tasted the MLS as a player. He spent a short spell with the Vancouver Whitecaps back in 2018 as his playing days reached their latter stages.

Juarez joins the club of Celtic connections

Juarez not only joins Deila in having a Celtic connection. The likes of Lewis Morgan, Gary Mackay-Steven, and Andrew Gutman are all plying their trade in the States – Gutman still being owned by the Hoops.

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Speaking to New York City’s website after his appointment, Juarez seemed excited and ready to tackle his first job in coaching:

“The opportunity to be reunited with Ronny was an easy decision for me and I am very excited to join NYCFC. I am so grateful to everyone here, especially to Ronny and David Lee. I can’t think of a better club to be at as I begin this new chapter of my professional career.

Juarez during his Celtic days

Juarez during his Celtic days (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

“I’m looking forward to passing on my experiences as a player and I hope this will be a valuable asset in helping to develop our players into the best professionals they can be.

“Off the pitch, I’m looking forward to working with our coaching and technical staff to implement individual development plans so the players can reach their on-pitch goals and the objectives that we set for them.”

Juarez didn’t make the impact at Parkhead he would’ve liked in his two-year spell here. In fact, he only made 20 appearances in his first campaign before being sent out on loan during his second year (Transfermarkt).

He did manage to win a Scottish Cup, but there were plenty of regrets after he made a strong first impression when Neil Lennon signed him in the summer of 2010.

In any case, here’s hoping this new Celtic-themed partnership works well as the season goes on. With two defeats out of two to their name this season, New York could certainly do with Juarez adding something different.

What can you remember of Efrain Juarez during his time in Scotland? Where did it go wrong for him after his positive start? Will he and Deila be a good fit together? Let us know in the comments below.

 

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