Louisville City FC Coach John Hackworth
Louisville City Football Club coach John Hackworth was hired in the middle of the 2018 season and promptly led the Club to its second USL Cup championship, completing the first back-to-back USL Cup titles in modern USL history.
Hackworth was hired on Aug. 2, 2018, taking over for previous coach James O’Connor who was hired with the Orlando City of the MLS. After O’Connor left, Louisville City continued its season as a player-led team until Hackworth took over mid-August. Under Hackworth’s direction, LouCity closed out the regular season well and then rolled through the 2018 USL playoffs with four impressive wins – outscoring the four playoff teams in their path 12-2.
“Hack came in with an impressive amount of experience and success throughout his career developing the abilities of some of our country’s most exciting prospects,” Louisville City FC President Brad Estes said. “In addition his sharp eye for talent and ability to develop elite players, we were impressed with his ability to successfully lead our Club with a remarkable humility and focus down the stretch of the 2018 season. He was able to quickly establish himself as the lead of the group that was already assembled and then add new players who complimented the team’s tremendous talent.”
By the start of the 2018 Playoffs, Hackworth had molded the squad into a dominant force. Louisville City beat Indy Eleven 4-1, rolled over the Bethlehem Steel 2-0 and then crushed the New York Red Bulls 5-1 to make the USL Cup Final. Hackworth and Louisville City captured the club’s second star with a 1-0 win over West Champion Phoenix Rising.
Hackworth is Louisville City’s second-ever head coach. The 48-year-old native of Dunedin, Fla., signed a contract spanning through the 2022 season, after the club conducted an international search for its next leader.
“Those that know him have applauded his coaching acumen, but his character is what we are most excited about as we take Louisville City FC forward,” Estes said of Hackworth.
Prior to Louisville City, Hackworth had been in charge of the U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team since 2015 and has served as an assistant to the U.S. Men’s National Team since the beginning of this year. An experienced coach at the national level, Hackworth began with U.S. Soccer in 2002 when he first served as an assistant to then-U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team head coach John Ellinger. Hackworth would go on to succeed Ellinger and lead the U-17’s to finishes in the quarterfinals of the 2005 FIFA U-17 World Cup and Round of 16 in the 2007 FIFA U-17 World Cup. Following his time in charge of the U-17’s, Hackworth also served as the inaugural Technical Director of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.
Outside of his time with U.S. Soccer, Hackworth’s experience extends to both the collegiate and professional levels of the game. He began as an assistant coach for the Wake Forest University women’s and men’s teams in 1993 and 1994. Hackworth was then named the head coach at the University of South Florida in 1998, where he led the Bulls to two NCAA Tournament Appearances.
In Major League Soccer, Hackworth spent five years with the Philadelphia Union, serving as the club’s Youth Development Coordinator from 2009-12, and head coach from 2012-14 before returning to take charge of the U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team.
On Thursday, September 27, Louisville City FC announced the addition of Danny Cruz as coach John Hackworth’s first Assistant Coach.
A former assistant at Real Monarchs SLC, Cruz came on board after ending his playing career ahead of the 2018 USL regular season. Prior to taking on his role with the Monarchs, Cruz’s extensive playing career saw him register 137 career Major League Soccer appearances in total.
A native of Petersburg, Virginia, Cruz’s decade-long playing career began with the Des Moines Menace, where current LouCity players Richard Ballard and Tim Dobrowolski have spent time. After leaving the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, Cruz was drafted in the third round (41st overall) of the 2009 MLS SuperDraft by the Houston Dynamo. The former winger clocked time with the Dynamo, D.C. United, and Philadelphia Union in Major League Soccer before spending one year with Minnesota United and part of one year with the San Francisco Deltas in the NASL before leaving for Real Monarchs SLC in August 2017.
Head coach John Hackworth originally brought Scott Budnick into the fold as interim goalkeeper coach in August, and after another successful season which culminated in the club’s second-consecutive USL Cup, “Hack” moved to make the position permanent on January 7, 2018.
After a strong four-year career at the College of William and Mary, Budnick’s professional career began with the Richmond Kickers and the Hampton Roads Hurricanes in the USISL. The 47-year-old later spent time in the English and German lower divisions before playing in the MLS with the Tampa Bay Mutiny and Miami Fusion, eventually retiring with the New England Revolution in 2000. Budnick also represented the U.S. at the U-18 and U-20 levels, participating in the U-20 CONCACAF qualification tournament in 1990.
Since returning to Louisville in 2007, Budnick has been active in the local soccer community. Budnick managed the Louisville Lightning of the Professional Arena Soccer League, winning Coach of the Year honors in 2010. He has assisted the U.S. Soccer YNT Identification Center Program for the Kentucky, Indiana and southern Ohio regions and is involved with the U.S.Y.S.A. Region II and Kentucky ODP programs. Budnick has also assisted the Trinity and Assumption high school programs and presently coaches local select youth teams. Budnick resides in Louisville with his wife, Shannon, and their two children, Koepler and Dillon.