By Fort Worth Vaqueros
The Fort Worth Vaqueros are excited to announce the hiring of their new head coach of their NPSL team.
Tony Merola is a UEFA A license and UEFA Elite Youth qualified coach through the Welsh FA education system. In 2010 his undergraduate education was completed with a BA Honors in Community Sport Development at Glyndwr University. In 2013 he graduated with a Master of Research in Sports and Exercise Sciences.
After playing professionally for his hometown professional soccer club Wrexham FC in the early 90s, Merola started coaching at the age of 29 when he ruptured both his Achilles heels within 12 months of each other, forcing him to stop playing before he turned 30.
“We are really excited about Tony joining our organization,” Fort Worth Vaqueros General Manager Anthony Harris said. “He has all the experience we were looking for and is really excited about being a part of the local team of this great city.”
Merola is the head boys soccer coach at Boswell High School in the Eagle Mountain/Saginaw ISD and currently is entering his second year at the helm. Prior to this, he was the boys ECNL Director at Tulsa Soccer Club in Oklahoma, implementing player and team development programs while also helping coaches understand principles of play to enhance player development and decision-making attributes.
In the season of 2018/19 Merola worked for Solar Soccer Club in Dallas as the 03 Boys ECNL head coach and coached the team to the final at the Dallas Cup, losing narrowly to the No.1 ranked MLS professional club whilst also promoting five players to the club’s Development Academy (DA) program on a full-time basis. The team and coach also finished that season as ECNL Texas Conference Champions after compiling an unbeaten record.
From 2014-2018 Merola directed Liverpool FC’s International Academy in North Texas and worked with youth clubs across seven states, adding value through coach education and providing monthly lectures to directors of coaching while supporting all on-field soccer activities weekly.
Before arriving in the US in 2014, Merola worked full-time for six years at Wrexham FC as head coach of the Under-16 Elite performance group while also leading the club’s Community Foundation program, working with local schools and universities. Many players under his mentorship went on to gain professional contracts while also guiding players into making their professional debut at the first team level.
“Tony brings a unique mix of international football experience with a strong understanding of the American game at the lower division level which puts the Vaqueros in a position to be successful this NPSL season,” Fort Worth Vaqueros Owner Michael Hitchcock said.
He lives with his wife Colleen, and they have a young daughter Charlie Rose, who already is fostering a love for the beautiful game. The Merola family are avid Wrexham FC supporters That club is currently owned by Hollywood stars Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds.
Photos Courtesy of Tony Merola