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From Ipswich to Monterey Bay, Frank Yallop continues building his “legend” status

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 12/29/22, 9:05AM EST


Induction into Ipswich Town’s Hall of Fame this month celebrates the Monterey Bay F.C. head coach’s impact on both sides of the Atlantic

Monterey Bay F.C. Head Coach Frank Yallop was this month honored as the latest inductee into former club Ipswich Town F.C.'s Hall of Fame, having made almost 400 appearances over more than a decade for the club as a player. | Photo courtesy Monterey Bay F

From the moment he first arrived as a teenage apprentice, there’s always been a special connection for Frank Yallop to Ipswich Town F.C.

“It’s just such a friendly club,” said Yallop recently. “And you know, I had many wonderful years from 1982 to 1996. It’s one of those clubs that is just one everyone tends to like. Everyone who plays for them and goes on has a soft spot for them.”

Now the Head Coach and Sporting Director at Monterey Bay F.C., Yallop spent more than a decade with the Tractor Boys as a player, making almost 400 appearances before returning to the United States for the launch of Major League Soccer in 1996. He’s since gone on to a successful coaching career, winning MLS Cup twice and being voted Major League Soccer’s Coach of the Year on two occasions as well.

It was that success that in a strange way served as an impediment to Yallop being honored by his former club. Since the Ipswich Town F.C. Hall of Fame was created, its celebratory ceremony honoring great players and coaches from the past was held in mid-March, a time when Yallop was roaming the sidelines early in the new North American campaign.

“They have a big dinner and a big event, but I could never make it because I was always coaching or managing over here,” said Yallop.

But earlier this month – 40 years on from making the trip across the Atlantic from his childhood home in Vancouver, Canada – Yallop’s day finally arrived. Introduced by former teammate and England captain Terry Butcher, Yallop was added to the club’s Hall of Fame as nearly 23,000 fans at Portman Road paid tribute.

Frank Yallop received his Ipswich Town F.C. Hall of Fame plaque from former teammate and England captain Terry Butcher at Portman Road early in December. | Photo courtesy Ipswich Town F.C.

Yallop’s trip back to East Anglia also allowed him to see the growth and changes that have come about at the club since, at his suggestion, the current ITFC ownership group led by Brett M. Johnson – whom Yallop connected with at Phoenix Rising FC, and who now leads the ownership of 2024 Championship expansion side Rhode Island FC – acquired the club in April 2021.

Currently in EFL League One (England’s third tier), Ipswich is vying for first place this season and eyeing promotion to the EFL Championship as the midway point of the season arrives, with the investment the new ownership has made visible on and off the field.

“I saw it firsthand going over,” said Yallop. “Every fan, every person I spoke to in the two weeks I was there was 100 percent, super positive, right behind the team. They can’t wait for the next game. The manager’s doing a great job, and the changes they've made to the club, they’ve made some big changes to the training ground. They’re going to spring up a big screen at the stadium. They’ve made some good ticketing initiatives to really do a great job. It’s very positive.”

Yallop’s trip back to Ipswich wasn’t the first career honor bestowed on the 58-year-old in the past 12 months. This past April he was inducted into the San Jose Earthquakes’ Hall of Fame, having led the club to its two MLS Cup victories in the 2000s.

Don’t expect him to slow down anytime soon, though.

In Monterey Bay’s inaugural campaign, Yallop channeled much of what he had learned over the years to start the new club off on the right foot. There were numerous bright moments as Cardinale Stadium during the season, and the local community quickly jumped on board.

MBFC’s final home game of the campaign drew a sellout of 5,705. The rising numbers in the stands certainly came in part due to the connections Yallop and the club’s front office have aimed to make in the Monterey Bay region, emulating Ipswich Town’s long-held reputation.

“What I wanted to do was to establish a connection with the community,” said Yallop. “We did a bunch of stuff away from the stadium, and did a lot of charity work, appearances, really getting embedded into the community. I think that really shows on the field, right into the game, where it isn’t a question that Cardinale Stadium is a tough place to come to play. I can't wait for next year. I think we're building something special here.”

The future will also include the growing rivalries with NorCal neighbors Sacramento Republic FC and Oakland Roots SC, both of which Monterey Bay claimed wins against in its first year.

“There’s nothing better than a healthy rivalry,” said Yallop, who experienced the great rivalry between Ipswich Town and Norwich City during his playing days. “I know the coaches and the clubs very well as well, Oakland and Sacramento, so we’ll have to get one up on each other [next season], but it’s going to be good. Obviously, they’d beat us, and we’d beat them, so we can really kick that off next season.”

Beyond passionate rivalries, the bigger aim for Monterey Bay is to earn a first trip to the playoffs. As competitive as the Western Conference proved a season ago, Yallop is under no illusions as to the standard it will take on a weekly basis.

“You’ve got to earn your wins,” said Yallop. “We’ve got our work cut out to make the playoffs, but our aim is to make the playoffs. Every team says that, and we’re no different than anybody else, but I feel with the squad we put together, we didn’t lose anybody that I wanted to keep, which is huge.

“Now hopefully we can kick on and be more consistent in our performances and be more consistent in our results. And I think we have a decent chance to make the playoffs, and then hopefully we can extend ourselves in that and see how far we can get.”

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