Credit: Ocean City Nor'easters
Last month, the Ocean City Nor’easters of USL League Two announced that current Manhattan Celtics coach Matthew Kane will be joining their staff as a Team Analyst ahead of the 2021 season. He is the latest in an ever-growing group of both players and staff who’ve jumped up the ladder after their time in the Cosmopolitan Soccer League.
"Matt's addition is an exciting one as he has experience with working within the MLS academy structure alongside his work with the senior sides, so he is very familiar with the pathway we are putting players through at the USL League Two level," said Ocean City head coach Alan McCann in the team’s press release. "His knowledge from working with clubs that have very specific systems of play is perfect for us when it comes to analysis of our own environment and opponents."
Coach Kane has already confirmed that he will see out the rest of the Celtics’ season in the first division of the CSL. Currently, his team is battling for first place as the Spring season resumes play. The boys also recently finished atop their group in the John Kilby League Cup, meaning advancement to the knockout stage of the competition.
“It's exciting,” Kane said. “New (Ocean City) head coach Alan McCann called me and talked about his interest in bringing me on board. We met each other in 2018 on a national coaching license. Since then, we've kept in touch, sharing ideas. He's passionate about the game and has achieved great success so far and if there is any way I can help, hopefully I can do that.”
The new role with Ocean City will be working with one of Kane’s biggest strengths: details. As he explains, his task will be reviewing game film and helping coach McCann get the most out of his players.
“On the micro level I'll be giving another pair of eyes to games, knowing the coach’s philosophy and seeing if statistically he is getting what he wants them to achieve. On the macro level, Alan has asked me to review his seasons and see if I notice any trends or patterns that can be helpful (if addressed).”
Celtic midfielder Dan Korman doesn’t believe you can find many individuals better at doing just that. Following players and getting the most out of their play, both during games and practices, is something he believes Kane has a sense for.
“He has an eye for small details most others don’t see,” Korman said. “He knows how to motivate individuals and has successfully implemented a style of play - he’s top class. Ocean City is really lucky to have him.”
The same detail oriented approach has already aided coach Kane in multiple roles. This includes positions within the New York Red Bulls Academy and the Metropolitan Oval Academy, where he currently acts as the head coach of the latter's Under-16 MLS academy team.
In the world of lower league, intercity soccer, coach Kane represents some of the best qualities anyone could ask for in a coach. One could talk to any of his players and find they all have respect for the Belfast native’s work ethic and the way he treats those around him.
Under Kane, Celtic have developed into one of the league's most interesting squads to watch. Whether it be a league showdown or a USASA regional cup match, Kane and his team will be prepared and studied to take on an opponent.
“He has taken everyone around him at the club to the next level,” said Korman. “All the players really respect his vision and passion for the game.”
Since relegation from the top division in 2017, Celtic have worked tirelessly to get back to the peak of the CSL. With improving results each season in the second division the team looked poised to make the jump during the 2019/20 season prior it’s cancelling due to COVID. While now technically back in the top flight, Kane’s squad still looks ready to make a jump to the newly-created Eastern Premier Soccer League.
Of his current coach, Sean Doran noted this ever increasing work ethic to get better and improve is something he always appreciated.
“Playing under Matt has been great,” Doran said. “I've learned a lot from him and he has helped us greatly as a team, that can be seen in our progress over the last four seasons. I think one of his biggest strengths is his man management. We have players from all different backgrounds, some who have played at very high levels. He demands quality and commitment and doesn’t allow anyone to become bigger than the team, I'm a massive fan of his no nonsense approach in this regard.
“He’s done wonders for Manhattan Celtic and hopefully can lead us to a title at the end of the season.”
As one of the oldest teams still operating in the USL, the Nor’easters have a storied history that dates back to 1997. After spending its first six seasons as a pro team in the USL’s D-3 Pro League, the club joined USL League Two (then the Premier Development League) in 2003. Despite the late start, the Nor’easters have the seventh-most wins in league history, two trips to the final four and nine appearances in the U.S. Open Cup, including six pro team upsets and 12 total wins. As they look to continue their own winning tradition in 2021, a large group of boys in green will be cheering them on from Manhattan.