Tim Hankinson to coach Chattanooga Pro Soccer team

Tim Hankinson to coach Chattanooga Pro Soccer team

September 11th, 2018 by Gene Henley in Sports - Professional

Staff photo by Tim Barber / Chattanooga professional soccer team owner Bob Martino, left, stands alongside his new head coach Tim Hankinson during his introduction Tuesday at Finley Stadium.

Updated at 11:18 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018, with more information.

Staff photo by Tim Barber / Tim Hankinson relays his vision for professional soccer after being named Chattanooga's new head coach.

Staff photo by Tim Barber / Tim Hankinson relays...

Chattanooga Pro Soccer announced Tuesday that Tim Hankinson will be the first head coach as the United Soccer League Division III club heads into its inaugural season in 2019.

Hankinson has more than 20 years of professional experience, including stints with a pair of Major League Soccer clubs as well as the USL's Indy Eleven and Charleston Battery.

He has coached at every level from college to professional and international. He was the first United States national to coach in Iceland and later directed Guatemala's under-17 national team.

Staff photo by Tim Barber / Tim Hankinson, center, answers questions as Chattanooga's new professional soccer team coach. Owner Bob Martino, left, and general manager Sean McDaniel, listen as Hankinson relays his vision for soccer in the Scenic City.

Staff photo by Tim Barber / Tim Hankinson, center,...

"While the USL has had extensive experience building leagues and putting pro athletes through the soccer system, this is a new league. It's beyond just the players: There's budgets, there's facilities, there's equipment. There's a whole component to building a club from scratch," vice president and general manager Sean McDaniel said. "What probably was the most attractive about Tim was his ability to have an entrepreneurial mind behind it to understand the significance of cash flow and ticket sales, and drop that in as a part of building out the team, which is a huge help to me."

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It will be the third time that Hankinson has helped start a club. He helped found the Charleston Battery team in 1992 that competed in the USL, which was then called the United States Interregional Soccer League. He spent two seasons with the Battery, making the playoffs both times and advancing to the semifinals in his second year — when he was honored as USISL coach of the year.

He had a similar opportunity 20 years later when he became the first head coach of the San Antonio Scorpions of the North American Soccer League. His first team won 13 matches and the regular-season title before falling in the semifinals.

Chattanooga Pro Soccer team owner Bob Martino, left, stands alongside coach Tim Hankinson during a news conference to introduce Hankinson on Tuesday at Finley Stadium. At right is president and general manager Sean McDaniel.

Chattanooga Pro Soccer team owner Bob Martino, left,...

Photo by Tim Barber /Times Free Press.

In addition, he guided the Indy Eleven to the 2016 NASL final in his first season, again earning national coach-of-the-year honors.

"There were an extensive series of conversations with (owner) Bob (Martino) and Sean as far as what this vision is about, what Chattanooga is about," Hankinson told the Times Free Press on Tuesday. "If you look at my background, I've lived everywhere taking on teams and clubs, and this sounded like it was too great a vision not to be a part of, and that's part of the attraction we feel we can start with and can build for the club and the city in the future.

"The idea of starting with a clean canvas, to build something for the youth, the community is maybe, as a coach, more fun than coming in and having to clean everything up. There is some methodology to how you go about building the foundation to have a team for 2019, but also a team for the future, so we're looking forward to getting started."

Contact Gene Henley at ghenley@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @genehenley3.