Portland Timbers name Phil Neville as head coach

The Timbers have named Phil Neville as head coach. Neville’s multiyear contract will see him in Portland through 2026. He becomes the fourth head coach in the club’s MLS era.

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers have named Phil Neville as head coach ahead of the 2024 MLS season, the club announced today. Neville’s multiyear contract with the Timbers will see him in Portland through 2026. Neville, who holds a UEFA Pro License, becomes the fourth head coach in the club’s MLS era.  

Neville will be formally introduced to the media at an in-person and virtual press conference on Tuesday, Nov. 6, at 10am PT at Providence Park.

“We are thrilled to welcome Phil Neville as the new head coach of the Portland Timbers, and we look forward to making Phil and his family feel at home in Portland,” said general manager Ned Grabavoy. “Phil’s character makes him the right person to lead this team forward as we continue to reshape the group with a goal of returning to sustained success. His leadership qualities, diverse experience as a coach, and ambition to evolve made him a terrific fit here with us in Portland.”

Neville, 46, joins the club with six years of head coach experience at the senior level between his time in MLS and on the international stage, following a 19-year career as a distinguished player in England’s Premier League and England Men’s National Team. Most recently, Neville formed part of the Canadian Men’s National Team technical staff as an assistant coach during the team’s participation in the 2023 Concacaf Nations League Final and the 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup.

“I am massively excited about the challenge ahead, and from the very first moment I met the staff I knew it was the right opportunity for me, the right club for me and the right city for me,” said Neville. “The fans are the most important part of this football club with their intensity and support, and I think this journey is going to be something special. I have great memories visiting Portland, which reminds me of Manchester, my hometown, and I can’t wait for my family to get to know this beautiful city.”

Neville was appointed as head coach of Inter Miami CF ahead of the club’s second MLS season in 2021, leading them through two-plus MLS campaigns until his departure midway through 2023. In 2022, Neville and Miami finished sixth in the Eastern Conference standings with a mark of 14-14-6 (48 pts), earning a postseason berth and the team’s best finish to date.  

Prior to coaching in MLS, Neville was selected as the England Women’s National Team head coach in January of 2018. At the helm of the Lionesses, Neville’s side won the 2019 SheBelieves Cup and led the team to an undefeated 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup Qualification run before placing fourth in the tournament. Additionally, Neville had spells as an assistant coach for La Liga side Valencia CF (2015-16), Premier League side Manchester United (2013-14) and the England U21 Men’s National Team (2012-13).

As a player, Neville enjoyed a stellar 19-year career as a defender at Manchester United and Everton FC. The England international made his professional debut with Manchester United in 1995. Playing with the Red Devils, Neville recorded 381 appearances in all competitions, helping the team win six Premier League championships, three FA Cups and one UEFA Champions League title. Notably, Neville and Manchester United won the treble (Champions League, FA Cup, Premier League) in the 1998-99 season. After playing 11 seasons at Manchester United under legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson (1995-2005), Neville joined Everton FC in 2005 and went on to make 303 appearances in all competitions, captaining the team through eight seasons.

Internationally, Neville tallied 59 appearances for the England Men’s National Team. He made five appearances in two different UEFA Euro tournaments (2000, 2004) and four appearances in FIFA World Cup Qualifiers (1998, 2001) with the Three Lions. Neville made his senior international debut against China on May 23, 1996. He also featured in England’s U-16, U-18 and U-21 teams.  

A native of Bury, England, Neville is married to Julie Neville, and is father to Harvey and Isabella Neville.