After his first season at the helm in Utah, Real Monarchs Head Coach Mark Briggs has a new title to hang his hat on. After being named the 2017 USL Coach of the Year, Briggs now has an individual honor to pair with a USL Regular Season Championship Shield from the 2017 season.
“I’m honored to win the Coach of the Year award. The award symbolizes the collective efforts of the entire organization this season,” Briggs said. “I couldn’t have done it without my players and my staff. It’s an award that is not really a personal accolade it’s an award for the team. “I’m lucky to be in this sport and in this profession and get paid for something that I love.”
Quick to deflect praise for the honor, Briggs has every reason to be proud of his leadership over the course of the 2017 season. The Wolverhampton, England native led the Monarchs to a first-ever USL postseason berth and an impressive 20-5-7 (67 points) record over the course of the regular season. Under Briggs’ guidance the team came within two points of the all-time points record set by New York Red Bulls II in 2016 (69). The team also came within two wins of the all-time wins record (22).
On top of leading the team to the regular season championship, the Monarchs made an extraordinary start to the season – where the team went 13-1-0 (39 points) over the first 14 matches of the season – a stretch that included the team setting the record for the most consecutive wins in a season when it won nine straight from April 22 to June 19.
“The most-proud moment for me was when we clinched the regular season title. I think lifting a trophy in my first year here was an extremely proud moment,” Briggs recalled. “It was a moment I’m sure I’ll remember for a very long time.”
Taking charge of the Monarchs after just one game week into the USL season after Mike Petke’s promotion to Real Salt Lake, Briggs made the most of his unique situation as a professional head coach. With a roster that included USL and MLS veterans as well as young talent making their first professional strides, Briggs found success while developing talent for the first team.
“This year I learned how to manage players with top level experience,” Briggs said. “There is so much you learn every day here. I think the biggest thing here at Real Salt Lake is managing the movement of the players between the MLS and USL rosters. My relationship with Mike [Petke] helped a lot with that and it turned out quite well.”
Carrying the momentum from 2017 into next season is a challenge Briggs fully accepts as he looks to bring even greater successes to the Monarchs in 2018. With a new home at the Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman, Briggs expects next season to set new standards in a building they can call home.
“Look at the stadium, look at the surroundings, the facilities and the quality of play we have at this football club, creating the culture that we want to create at this football club is only going to bode well moving forward because of the standards that have been set.”