Change is still afoot at Trigoria even among the coaching staff, as the (in)famous American-Canadian duo of Ed Lippie and Darcy Norman officially leave their positions at Roma. The change had been unofficially touted for months but it is unclear who EDF’s coaching team sees as a replacement, with a rumoured approach for Genoa’s Italian fitness coach already failed some weeks ago. Ed Lippie was bullish in his goodbye interview to the Daily Hampshire Gazette, summing up the duo’s time at Roma as one where they “had to pull everything into the 21st century.”
The infamy surrounding Lippie and Norman circles around the extraordinary curse of ACL injuries plaguing the Roma squads, since (and even before) they took up full time employment at Trigoria in the summer of 2015. Initially the duo were taken on consultancy after Pallotta was told then-Roma head coach Rudi Garcia really wasn’t training his boys very hard at all. Lippie also admits to initial pre-conceptions that “the kids who went out for the soccer team couldn’t hang with [American] football.” It is a pre-conception he later dropped. Norman had no such problems adapting, having previously coached at Bayern Munich.
Perhaps the tipping point for the duo’s time at Roma hinged on the record number of muscular fatigue injuries this past season, or maybe it was the “dark December” and January period where the Roma senior squad arguably looked in even worse shape after the mid-winter break than before they’d split up for the holidays.
Whatever the case, it certainly seems this change was pushed for by the Di Francesco-Monchi side of the staff, as Lippie admits to his Italian being up to scratch with the players but less so with the coaching staff. He will continue his work in America with Pallotta’s Raptor Group regardless.
“My Italian is good enough to communicate what I need to the players in a coaching context,” Lippie explained to the Gazette, “but it is not good enough to always have more nuanced conversations with some of my Italian colleagues about sensitive issues.” And that’s just about the biggest hint we’ll bother to read over creative differences within the coaching staff. It seems like Di Francesco would rather put his faith in professionals closer to Coverciano for the coming ritiro and next season, and got his way in the end.
Time will tell if Norman and Lippie really were as culpable for the knee injury problems as some suggested, but the minimum the squad will expect of itself is to put in a better showing fitness-wise this coming December and January. That is the time of the season where pretenders turn into genuine contenders, or fall by the wayside as also-rans.