Edson Buddle (right) with David Beckham during his time with LA Galaxy. Photo from LAGalaxy.com
Few coaches in USL League Two can boast the playing pedigree of new Westchester Flames head coach Edson Buddle.
A native of New Rochelle, New York, Buddle’s professional career spanned 15 years and included a trip to South Africa as a member of the U.S. men’s national team for the 2010 World Cup. If you watch the video of that famous Landon Donovan goal against Algeria, you’ll see Buddle arrive as one of the first players to celebrate with Donovan.
After retiring in 2015, Buddle is now stepping back into soccer as a coach. He will lead Westchester Flames in the brand new Metropolitan Division in 2020, and has already begun involving himself with the club’s youth players.
“I’ve always been a person who loves challenges and I truly believe that I’m ready for my next challenge, which will be to coach at the high level of competition in League Two,” said Buddle. "I look forward to sharing my experience and helping younger players reach their goals here at the League Two level as they aspire to become pros."
“What excites me most is Edson’s ability to inspire and lead by example,” said Westchester Flames Club Manager Troy Bilyeu. “He has already been seen as a positive role model for our youth teams, by attending their practices, playing in their small-sided games, and serving as an honorary coach for futsal games.
“When your League Two head coach can make these types of connections with our youth players, the desire to play for the League Two team one day becomes a goal for just about all of them.”
Team Manager Dan Elias played a major role in the club’s decision to hire Buddle for the League Two role. Bilyeu credits Elias with convincing Buddle to take on the project.
“Upon our first introduction to Edson, we were very impressed with his demeanor and knowledge for the game,” said Bilyeu.
All the positive energy around Buddle’s first season has translated into a tangible benefit for the Flames. Bilyeu says the club has seen a 65 percent increase in player interest for the League Two team since Buddle was announced, including players from overseas.
Westchester Flames open the 2020 League Two season on the road against New York Red Bulls U23 on May 9. To view the Flames’ full schedule, click here.