Bob Lilley (soccer)

Robert "Bob" Lilley (born May 2, 1966) is an American soccer coach who is the head coach of USL Championship club Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC. He has managed the Hershey Wildcats, Montreal Impact, Vancouver Whitecaps, Detroit Ignition, and Rochester Rhinos.

Bob Lilley
Lilley in 2008
Personal information
Full name Robert Lilley
Date of birth (1966-05-02) May 2, 1966
Place of birth Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, United States
Playing position Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC (manager)
College career
Years Team Apps (Gls)
George Mason Patriots
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1989–1990 Orlando Lions
1989–1991 Maryland Bays
1990–1991 Hershey Impact (indoor)
1992–1997 Harrisburg Heat (indoor) 173 (73)
1994 Pittsburgh Stingers (indoor) 26 (14)
Teams managed
1997–2001 Hershey Wildcats
2002–2003 Montreal Impact
2004–2007 Vancouver Whitecaps
2007–2008 Detroit Ignition
2009–2011 Rochester Rhinos
2014–2017 Rochester Rhinos
2018– Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

A former midfielder, he played collegiately at George Mason before appearing at the professional level for Orlando Lions and Maryland Bays and indoors with Hershey Impact, Harrisburg Heat, and Pittsburgh Stingers.

Playing career

Before turning pro Lilley played at George Mason University where he was team captain. In 1989, Lilley signed with the Orlando Lions of the American Soccer League.[1] In 1990, the ASL merged with the Western Soccer Alliance to form the American Professional Soccer League. Lilley spent the 1990 season with the Lions in the new APSL.[2] In the fall of 1990, he joined the Hershey Impact of the National Professional Soccer League. In 1992, he moved to the Harrisburg Heat. In 1994, he spent the summer indoor season with the Pittsburgh Stingers in the Continental Indoor Soccer League. Following the 1996–1997 NPSL season, Lilley retired from playing and entered the coaching ranks.

Management career

His first coaching experience was with the Hershey Wildcats in 1997, experiencing much success with the club as being the team's one and only head coach. He led Hershey to the playoffs each year, as well winning A-League coach of the year in his rookie season. He was able to guide Hershey to one Northern Conference and three Atlantic Division titles as well as the 2001 A-League National Championship final, which they lost 2–0 to the Rochester Raging Rhinos. After the 2001 season, the team was folded by the ownership, having decided that the team would not be successful financially.

On January 23, 2002 he was appointed the new head coach of the Montreal Impact signing on a two-year contract.[3] His first season with the Impact, the team finished first in the Northeast Division, and also claimed the Voyageurs Cup. In 2003, he led Montreal to the Eastern Conference title and, the Voyageurs Cup for the second time in a row. And for the second time in his career he wins the A-League Coach of the Year, becoming only the second two-time Coach of the Year recipient in league history, following Alan Hinton in 1994, and 1995.

After the 2003 season he left the Impact for personal reasons, eventually signing a two-year deal with the Vancouver Whitecaps on November 1, 2004 becoming the team's first American coach, and the first coach never to have previously played for Vancouver.[4]

He led Vancouver to the playoffs in 2004 but were eliminated in the quarterfinals, but were able to claim the Cascadia Cup. In 2006, he led the Whitecaps to their first North American championship since 1979, when they defeated the Raging Rhinos 3–0 at PAETEC Park becoming the first team in USL First Division history to win the title on the road.

Lilley was sacked as Vancouver Whitecaps head coach on September 18, 2007 two days after the Whitecaps were eliminated by the Portland Timbers in the first round of the United Soccer Leagues First Division playoffs.[5] He was hired by the Detroit Ignition of the Major Indoor Soccer League as their assistant coach afterwards and promoted to head coach on November 6, 2007.[6]

On November 16, 2009 the Rochester Rhinos announced the hiring of Lilley as the club's new head coach for the 2010 season.[7]

During their match on January 25, 2013, the new Harrisburg Heat of the Professional Arena Soccer League honored Lilley with a halftime ceremony for his service with the original Heat franchise in the mid-1990s.[8] [8]

Jesse Myers took Lilley's coaching position with the Rochester Rhinos starting in the 2012 season. However, Lilley was rehired by the Rhinos for the 2014 season. He remained with the Rochester Rhinos through the end of the 2017 season.

As Rochester's 2018 season looked increasingly shaky following years of declining attendance, Lilley departed the club to become the head coach of the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. The Rochester Rhinos would ultimately go on hiatus for the 2018 season, and Lilley would be joined in Pittsburgh by Rhinos assistant coach Mark Pulisic as well as many of the players on the Rhinos squad.[9]

Under Lilley's management, the Riverhounds underwent drastic improvement when compared to the prior two seasons, in which the club had finished with a losing record. The Riverhounds held a clean sheet through the first four matches, the first time the club had achieved such a streak since the United Soccer League formed in 2011.[10] The team went undefeated for their first ten matches before finally posting their first loss on May 30, 2018. Lilley told reporters after a May 26 draw that he remained unhappy with the team's performance, as only four of those unbeaten matches were wins and the team was in 4th place on the Eastern Conference standings.[11] However, the team would go on to win five of their next six matches after the May 30 loss before posting their next loss. As of August 12, 2018, the Riverhounds hold a 12–3–7 record, putting them in 2nd place in the Eastern Conference behind FC Cincinnati.[12]

Managerial stats

Team From To Record
Hershey Wildcats April 29, 1997 September 8, 2001 1408646665.15
Montreal Impact April 26, 2002 September 7, 2003 563215968.09
Vancouver Whitecaps April 24, 2005 September 18, 2007 8433203162.26
Detroit Ignition November 6, 2007 April 2008 30228-73.33
Rochester Rhinos November 16, 2009 September 15, 2011 5428161063.63


  1. 1989 Orlando Lions
  2. 1990 Orlando Lions
  3. Impact hire Lilley as head coach
  4. Lilley new Whitecaps Men's coach Archived September 30, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  5. Whitecaps and Bob Lilley part ways Archived October 24, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  6. Ignition names Bob Lilley head coach Archived December 4, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  7. Rhinos name Lilley head coach Archived February 12, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  8. "Bob Lilley Returns Home To The Harrisburg Heat". Our Sports Central. January 22, 2013. Retrieved January 23, 2013.
  9. DiVeronica, Jeff (November 14, 2017). "Rochester Rhinos lose head coach Bob Lilley to Pittsburgh club in USL". Democrat and Chronicle. Gannett Company. Retrieved August 17, 2018.
  10. Sankofa, Omari II (April 20, 2018). "It's early, but so far so good for the Riverhounds". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved August 17, 2018.
  11. Grubba, Matt (May 26, 2018). "Bob Lilley fumes after Riverhounds latest 0–0 draw against Penn FC". DK Pittsburgh Sports. Retrieved August 17, 2018.
  12. "Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC Schedule". United Soccer League. Archived from the original on February 25, 2018. Retrieved August 17, 2018.
Preceded by
Position created
Hershey Wildcats Head Coach
Succeeded by
team folded
Preceded by
Nick De Santis
Montreal Impact Head Coach
Succeeded by
Nick De Santis
Preceded by
Mark Pulisic
Detroit Ignition Head Coach
Succeeded by
Matt Johnson
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