The former Warri Wolves, Ikorodu United and Super Falcons boss has been named as handler of the National Independent Soccer Association outfit

Former Nigeria women’s national team coach Sam Okpodu has been named as head coach of American third division side Maryland Bobcats.

The ex-Nigeria international who holds a Uefa A license will take charge of the team for this season’s National Independent Soccer Association campaign.

“Maryland Bobcats FC are excited to announce the hiring of Sam Okpodu as head coach for 2021,” a statement from the club website read.

“Okpodu brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the club and has an extensive resume from playing and coaching teams and players at the highest level.”

The 58-year-old tactician led the Super Falcons to their third African Women’s Championship staged in Nigeria (2002). He also took charge of the team at the 2003 Fifa Women’s World Cup in the USA (2003).

Prior to this appointment, he was director of coaches at Lee-Mt. Vernon Sports Club in Alexandria, VA.

“I believe that the Maryland Bobcats, as a young pro team, presents me with an opportunity to team up with a great organization looking to take professional soccer to the next level in the DMV area,” Okpodu told the club website.

“After a brief phone conversation with the president and vice president, I immediately realised that Jide and Evan are serious about taking professional soccer to a higher level in Maryland.

“I am excited about this relationship. And I look forward to our collaborative goal of establishing a competitive club in the National Independent Soccer Association (NISA), and for youth soccer in Maryland.”

“I am looking forward to sharing my professional experience with the coaching staff as we prepare our young Bobcats for a major competition in the National Independent Soccer Association, as well as to play with purpose and rhythm,” he continued.

“In addition, I am really excited to work with management to create a short and long term strategic plan for player development in the DMV.”

In the same vein, Bobcats president Jide Saba is pleased to have the veteran tactician in their fold – whom he believes would help the club reach their future goals.

“Our goal as a club is to always bring in people that we believe can continue to grow the organisation and move us in the right direction,” said Saba.

“From the moment we had a conversation with Sam we felt comfortable and excited. We are grateful that Sam decided to come on board and help us build to reach our future goals. From the entire Bobcats family, we welcome him to our family!”

Okpodu is expected to make his debut in the club’s first professional game against San Diego 1904 on April 16, 2021.

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