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New Nor'easters head coach Alan McCann announces 2021 coaching staff

McCann brings Shane Keely with him from Reading United, recruits one of NCAA's winningest coaches in Skip Roderick

New Nor'easters head coach Alan McCann announces 2021 coaching staff

It has been a busy week for the Ocean City Nor'easters. One of the most successful USL League Two teams in history have big plans for the upcoming 2021 season and the first step to a successful season began on Monday with the hiring of head coach Alan McCann, the two-time reigning USL League Two Coach of the Year.

With open tryouts scheduled for Dec. 19 (Details here!), Coach McCann has finalized his coaching staff, bringing on a pair of talented, experienced coaches. McCann has brought in Shane Keely, who was an assistant with him at Reading United AC, and Arthur "Skip" Roderick, one of the winningest coaches in NCAA history.

The two will assist McCann as the Nor'easters are set to begin the club's 24th season in the spring of 2021.

In addition to being a rising star in the college coaching ranks, Keely has spent the last two seasons assisting McCann. Over the last two seasons with Reading United, McCann and Keely led the club to a pair of Mid-Atlantic Division titles, two straight Eastern Conference titles, and back-to-back USL League Two championship game appearances. Under their leadership during that span, United had a 28-3-5 overall record and saw several players move on to play professionally.

"Shane is an essential part of the success we have had in recent years [with Reading United AC]," said McCann. "He understands the philosophy we will be implementing and the pathway these players will need to take in order to make the next level. He is ready to be a head coach himself so we are lucky to have him,"

In addition to this role with Reading United, Keely has built a strong resume at the college level. The Dublin, Ireland native is currently an assistant coach for the men's soccer program at Cumberland University. Over the last three seasons with the Phoenix, Keely has helped the team to double-digit wins in two of those years, including a Mid-South Conference regular season and tournament championship in 2017, which earned the team a berth in the NAIA tournament. Prior to that, he spent two seasons as an assistant at his alma mater Christian Brothers University.

Keely played two seasons at the University of Memphis before transferring to Christian Brothers University where he played his senior season. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Memphis and later earned a master’s degree from CBU.  

Keely earned his bachelor’s in Professional Studies with disciplines in Sports Management and Health Promotion from Memphis in 2014. He received a certificate in Project Management from Christian Brothers in 2014 and a master’s in Business Administration from CBU in May 2017.

Keely also earned degrees from both schools In addition to two seasons at Christian Brothers

“I am really excited to be joining Ocean City,” said Keely, who also played professionally with Bohemian FC in the League of Ireland. “In my short time as an assistant in the league, Ocean City has always been a well-respected club and highly-competitive opponent. So, getting a chance to come and coach with Alan will be an exciting new challenge that we can’t wait to get started.”

For Keely and McCann, this is a relationship that goes beyond the playing field.

“Alan and I have a great coaching and personal relationship. We were friends in high school back home and as we moved to the states, we kept in touch and eventually ended up coaching together,” said Keely. “We communicate well and it’s easy to bounce ideas back and forth. I think we are both driven coaches that want to do well anywhere we go and that's the expectation for us coming into Ocean City. It is a great club with a great history and we want to add to that in a positive way both on and off the field.”

The Nor’easters are also thrilled to bring Skip Roderick back to the Beach House for the 2021 season as an assistant coach. This will mark the third season with the Nor'easters for Roderick, who assisted one of his former players, Tim Oswald, during the 2015 and 2016 seasons. Roderick was an integral part of the club’s 2016 Eastern Conference championship team that reached the national final four with Oswald at the helm.

Roderick brings a wealth of experience to Ocean City as one of the most successful coaches in college soccer history. Since taking over as the head coach of his alma mater Elizabethtown College in 1983, he has led the Blue Jays to more than 500 wins over his nearly 36 years at the helm, which ranks 11th among all coaches across all NCAA divisions. He also led the Jays to 18 NCAA Division III tournament appearances and a national championship in 1989.

“I am honored and excited to be back for my third year on the Nor’easters coaching staff under the leadership of two time Coach of the Year Alan McCann,” said Roderick. “He has an incredible drive and his commitment to identifying future professional players is top class. He has come so close to winning the USL-2 championship the past two seasons. Our complete focus will be on providing an exceptional environment for the players, and to help Alan lift that trophy for this franchise and city. We want to put that elusive star above our crest.”

Roderick, a Springfield, Pa. native, also had a successful playing career. Some of the highlights include playing for clubs in England (Everton and Brentford), Ireland (Sligo Rovers, 1976 League of Ireland champions), and the United States, including the 1977 American Soccer League champion New Jersey Americans and the Philladelphia Atoms in the original North American Soccer League.

"Skip instantly makes us as a staff and organization better," said McCann. "His knowledge and experience in the game goes without saying and he has coached some of the best coaches in the country. He understands how to lead leaders and his influence goes beyond the game."

Stay tuned, because in the coming days, the Nor'easters will be announcing changes to the club's front office ahead of the 2021 USL League Two season.

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