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English former professional footballer and current Technical Director of the San Diego Nomads. He played as an inside-left, including Football League appearances for both Blackpool and Carlisle United.
Armstrong started his career with Football League First Division side Blackpool, making one league appearance , in a single-goal defeat at Newcastle United . He left to join non-league Morecambe, from whom he joined his hometown side Carlisle United . He made just one appearance in the Fourth Division for Carlisle before returning to Morecambe. He later played for Fleetwood Town and Lancaster City.
Armstrong had his first taste of management with Fleetwood FC whilst still playing. He had the title of Player coach. Fleetwood were an inaugural member of the new Northern Premier League which brought the best non league teams in Northern England together. He moved to Lancaster after winning the prestigious Northern Premier league cup.
In 1975 he joined the coaching staff at Blackpool, coaching their reserve team. He spent 5 years coaching Blackpool in the Central league which teams included Manchester United, Manchester City, Everton ,Liverpool etc
In 1980 he and his family emigrated to the United States where Armstrong coached Columbus Magic for a short stint . In 1981 he became the first paid youth soccer coach in the United States when he joined the staff of the La Jolla Nomads. In 1986, Armstong also helped to found the San Diego Nomads and became their coach. The Nomads won the Western Soccer Alliance titles in 1987 and 1989 and in 1989 were runners-up to Fort Lauderdale in the National Professional Championship. In 2001 the Nomads took over the San Diego Flash franchise for one season at the bequest of the A-league, the side under Armstrong reaching the 1/4 final play-offs.
He was also coach of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) men’s soccer team from 1983 to 2007, during which time the Tritons won three national titles. In the fifth game of the 2007 season, he coached his 500th game with UCSD. Prior to taking over as coach in 1983, the Tritons had had only won season with more wins than defeats in their seven year history. Armstrong transformed the side to the extent that the first season with more defeats than wins under his tenure did not come until the 2001 season. His cumulative record of 326-138-48 makes him the winningest coach in UCSD history. He retired as Tritons coach in September 2007 .
In 1987 Armstrong was appointed coach of the United States under-20 side. In 1989 he qualified the team for the World Youth Championship (now known as the FIFA U-20 World Cup) in Chile.
He has the distinction of being the first National coach of an American team to defeat Mexico. This was the teams 3-0 win in the 1989 qualifying tournament in Trinidad to reach the finals in Chile
He was one of the founding directors of US Club Soccer. He was Chairman for the first 3 years. He retired from this position in January 2009.
Coaching affiliations, USA -Armstrong was on the USSF coaching staff under Karl Heinz Heddergott who appointed him for a period of 6 years. He was both coach on the A and B license courses on many occasions.
He was also inducted into the California Youth Soccer “Hall of fame “for his service to the game
English FA- Derek also obtained his full English coaching license and attended Managers and trainers course for 10 years when nearing the end of his playing career.