Former Sheffield United striker Jon Stead links up with ex-Blade as coach of Tampa Bay Rowdies

Neill Collins, the former Sheffield United defender now in charge of Tampa Bay Rowdies, has welcomed the appointment of ex-Blade Jon Stead as an assistant coach of the USL Championship side.

Wednesday, 5th January 2022, 12:28 pm

Collins, who joined the Rowdies as a player from the Blades before stepping up to become their manager in 2018, has appointed Stead and Eric Wilde to his support staff at the Al Lang Stadium.

While the two didn’t play alongside each other at Bramall Lane, they were teammates at Sunderland. Stead finished his playing career at Harrogate Town before taking up a coaching role at Hartford Athletic, also in the USL Championship – the second tier of football in the USA.

“There’s always so many factors when you’re considering staff,” said Collins.

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“I think with Jon, first and foremost was the fact that he showed the willingness to come out here last year and start his coaching career in the USL. To come out on his own without his family and just grasp that opportunity certainly grabbed my attention.

“I spoke to him when we played Hartford and saw the passion he was developing for coaching. I think some players know they want to be coaches and some players think they might but when they do it, they find they might not.

“I think Jon is one of those people that has prepared himself for coaching and now that he’s in it is really enjoying it and he’s passionate to do it more. So he’s ticked a lot of the boxes.”

Nedum Onuoha of Manchester City and Jon Stead of Sheffield United

Scottish defender Collins made over 200 appearances for the Bramall Lane club after joining from Leeds in 2011, while Stead pulled on the Blades shirt almost 50 times before moving on to Ipswich Town in 2009.

“As you can imagine, there’s been so many candidates that are good coaches that we obviously considered,” Collins added.

“But I think with Jon, he also knows me and my personality. And I know Jon’s, and it’s different to mine.

“For me, that's the single most important thing about that particular assistant role; having someone that knows what I’m like and can complement that with different things. I think Jon will do that.”