Boston City FC head coach Palhinha has stepped down from his role with the club after three seasons in charge.

The former Brazil international and three-time Copa Liberatores winner with Sao Paulo and Cruzeiro, who has guided the club’s on-field fortunes since the Lions’ 2016 debut season, will pursue new opportunities.

Boston City has already begun the process to search for a new head coach in preparation for the 2019 National Premier Soccer League season.

“We are grateful to Palhinha for establishing Boston City on the soccer map in the United States and our successful launch this year in Brazil and wish him well,” said owner Renato Valentim. “He has become a good friend and shared our vision for the club. Palhinha took our newly-formed team to the NPSL playoffs at the first attempt three seasons ago and repeated that success the following year. What a privilege for our players to have had a chance to play for one of the legends of the game in Brazil.”

Boston City surged into the NPSL playoffs in 2016 on the back of a nine-match unbeaten streak, exiting the postseason in a penalty shootout loss to Legacy 76 in Virginia after a 0-0 draw. In 2017, they again reached the NPSL playoffs having finished runners-up in the division for the second year running. Palhinha’s 2017 campaign finished with a 2-5-3 record in the NPSL and a disappointing ninth-place finish. Palhinha’s record with Boston City in competitive matches through three NPSL seasons and two U.S. Open Cup campaigns was 20-16-8.

Palhinha helped launch the club’s academy and professional team in Brazil, which saw the Manhuaçu-based Under 15, Under 17 and Under 20 teams all secure promotion to the state’s first division earlier this month.