Shanghai: Gary White has left his post as coach of the Guam national team and is headed to China after agreeing to take over the reins of Shanghai Shenxin.
The Englishman, who received plaudits for the progress Guam made under his stewardship, will now be looking to mastermind Shenxin’s return to the Chinese Super League, after they were relegated to League One at the end of 2015.
“I feel immensely inspired to take on this new challenge, while at the same time humbled that a club as big as Shanghai Shenxin FC has every confidence in me to help rebuild its programme and to formulate a plan to lead the team back to where they belong – at the top of Chinese football,” he said, on the Guam Football Association’s official website.
“This is the next step in my journey to reach my personal and professional goals and I hope to have inspired others who have a passion for coaching to follow a similar path.
“I cannot express enough appreciation and love that I have for the people of Guam and all connected to the GFA, they are now part of my family.
“Deciding to leave was the most difficult decision I have ever made.”
Since he took charge of Matao in February 2012, White has led them to a remarkable rise and, last year, they achieved their highest position in the FIFA world rankings of 146th, compared to 195th when he first took over.
Moreover, under him, the Guamanians won their first-ever matches in FIFA World Cup qualification, beating both Turkmenistan and India and even managing a remarkable 0-0 draw against Oman.
Richard Lai, president of the GFA, was effusive in his praise of the outgoing coach, saying: “I fully support Gary’s transition to the professional leagues and wish him the best in his new role with Shanghai Shenxin FC.
“I am confident that Gary will find success in his new endeavour.
“He has a tough task ahead of him and I congratulate him for boldly taking this next step in his career.”
Forty-eight-year-old White, who replaces South Korean Kim Sang-ho at the Jinshan Football Stadium, takes over with Shenxin currently languishing in 13th spot in the 16-team League One, after claiming just three wins and two draws from their opening 11 matches of the 2016 campaign.
Prior to his time in Guam, White took charge of British Virgin Islands and Bahamas, and also held a technical director role for both Washington Youth Soccer and the Seattle Sounders academy.