EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – It’s a new era of El Paso Locomotive FC soccer, as club officials announced on Thursday they have hired John Hutchinson as the new head coach and technical director.
Hutchinson, whose professional soccer career spans over 25 years as a player and as a coach, takes over for Mark Lowry who took the head coaching position for Indy Eleven last month.
“We look forward to welcoming John [Hutchinson] and his family to El Paso,” said Josh Hunt, MountainStar Sports Group Co-Owner and Chairman. “His wealth of professional playing and coaching experience at the highest levels of professional soccer around the world will bring a unique perspective to our community and Club.”
Hutchinson, 41, has six years of technical staff experience spanning over five leagues, including abroad in the Japanese and Australian top-flight leagues, as well as here in the United States. The Australian native began his coaching career in 2015 with Central Coast Mariners of the Isuzu UTE A League as an assistant coach. He soon took an opportunity with the Seattle Sounders organization in 2017, joining the Tacoma Defiance as an assistant coach in the USL Championship. Hutchinson coached for two years with Defiance, acting as the assistant coach in 2017 before taking the mantle as head coach in 2018. Hutchinson served as the head coach for Tacoma for 33 games before departing back to his native country for an assistant coaching role with Western United FC in 2019.
“John [Hutchinson] provides all the attributes we were looking for in a head coach,” said MountainStar Sports Group President, Alan Ledford. “First, as described by a former colleague and highly respected MLS executive, he is a wonderful person and he brings extensive experience, including as a Head Coach, to Locomotive. He shares our objectives as a club to be an integral part of our community and to be highly competitive on the pitch. We look forward to continuing to build on the amazing foundation El Paso Locomotive established in our first three seasons.”
Ahead of the 2020 abbreviated season, Hutchinson returned to the United States as a first team assistant coach with the Seattle Sounders in Major League Soccer. While helping guide the Sounders to an MLS Cup Final appearance, Hutchinson doubled as a development coach for the extensive Sounders Academy. In 2021, Hutchinson moved to J-League 1 — the premier soccer league of Japan — taking on the role as first assistant with Yokohama F. Marinos helping lead the club to a second place finish with a record of 24-7-7 (79 points).
“I’m very happy to be named head coach for El Paso Locomotive,” said Hutchinson. “I am really grateful for the ownership to place their faith in me, and I know that everyone associated with the club wants to win games and silverware and I am no different,” said Hutchinson. “I have always enjoyed my time in America. The USL Championship has some unique challenges and those really excite me. We want to develop an identity and brand of football that the community, fans, and club can be proud of. We will need to work hard to achieve this, but I know the players and staff will be doing their best every day. I am looking forward to being part of the community and learning about the culture in El Paso and I cannot wait to get started with pre-season.”
Prior to his coaching career, Hutchinson started his playing career in 1996 with Eastern Pride FC in the Australian National Soccer League (ANSL) as a central midfielder. He scored seven goals over 89 appearances in five seasons. In 2001, Hutchinson moved from Eastern Pride to Northern Spirit FC where he recorded another 12 goals in 77 appearances. He then spent a season with Manly United FC, scoring four goals in 25 appearances in the NSW Premier League before signing with his long-standing club, Central Coast Mariners FC in 2005. Hutchinson, a captain on the club, recorded 18 goals across 228 appearances, leading the team to winning a Grand Final in 2013 as well as helping lift the team to a Premiership win in the 2007-08 season.
During his playing career, Hutchinson also earned international experience — both at the league and national team levels — having spent a season on loan in 2011 with the Chengdu Blades (three goals in 14 appearances) in the Chinese Super League. He earned 11 caps with the Maltese National Team between 2009 and 2011.
“After a global search for our next head coach, we identified and interviewed some of the best and brightest professional soccer coaches and ultimately thought John was a great fit for what is required on the field, but also embodies the characteristics we look for in a positive contributor to our community,” said Locomotive General Manager, Business Operations Andrew Forrest. “John and his family have that in spades, and I am excited to work with him and introduce him to our fanbase,”
Locomotive has made several player announcements over the course of the last three weeks, including the return of 18-year-old superstar Diego Luna. Expect those announcements to ramp up with a head coach now on board.