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Swope Park promotes Nikola Popovic to head coach

Nikola Popovic was named head coach of the Swope Park Rangers on Monday.
Nikola Popovic was named head coach of the Swope Park Rangers on Monday. Swope Park Rangers

The Swope Park Rangers coaching search concluded in their own building.

Swope Park promoted assistant Nikola Popovic to head coach Monday, replacing Marc Dos Santos, who left for another job after guiding the Rangers in their inaugural season.

The Rangers, who serve as a development team for Sporting Kansas City, reached the United Soccer League championship match this season, finishing runner-up.

"I think the first year was about creating the foundation and behavior we want to see in our club," Popovic said. "Now I think it's time for the next stage. The concern moving forward is about playing the same way as the first team, so our style of play will have some changes according to the philosophy of the first team."

Dos Santos left the Rangers for the same job with the San Francisco Deltas of the North American Soccer League.

Popovic, 43, is a dual citizen of Serbia and Portugal who began his coaching career in Portugal. He served as an assistant to Dos Santos this season. In addition to style of play alterations, Popovic said the roster will see some changes to house players with the best opportunity to eventually move up to Sporting KC.

"As a club, one of our objectives is to be able to promote from within because we want people that understand our culture and model of play," Sporting Kansas City coach Peter Vermes said in a statement. "We are very excited to be able to promote Nikola and think he will bring excellent qualities to the head coach position."

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