David Moyes takes over as coach of Real Sociedad

SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain (AP) — It was the chance to work abroad that persuaded David Moyes to take over at Real Sociedad and return to coaching six months after being fired by Manchester United.

Dressed in a suit close to Sociedad’s dark blue color, Moyes smiled broadly at his presentation on Thursday, a day after his arrival to the upscale Basque city on the northern coast. He signed a contract to coach the Spanish club for the remainder of this season and the next, ending in June 2016.

“It has always been a bigger ambition to coach abroad,” the 51-year-old Moyes said. “It is the right time. I am well rested and I am ready to go.”

Moyes was fired by Manchester United last April, less than a year after replacing Alex Ferguson as manager. Previously, Moyes established his coaching reputation after 11 seasons in charge of Everton.

“I had a great 11 years at Everton … a club very similar to this,” Moyes said. “I took over (Everton) and grew it and it got better and better. I am hoping I can do the same here. From all the vibes and messages I am getting I don’t see why I can’t do it.”

He said he had turned down “several” offers to manage in the Premier League and finally chose Sociedad because it gave him the chance to coach in the same league with European champion Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.

“The only club to tug my heart strings was Sociedad,” Moyes said. “The Liga is the best league in the world. It has overtaken the Premier (League).

“The Liga has some really good players and coaches, and I want to test myself against the best.”

Moyes is the club’s first Scottish coach but joins John Toshack, Chris Coleman and Harry Lowe in Sociedad’s tradition of hiring British coaches.

Moyes said that leaving Britain to ply his trade abroad was the biggest challenge of his coaching career.

“But I am very confident,” he said. “It gives me a great opportunity to show that British managers can go work abroad. There aren’t a lot out there, and I am always beating the drum. So hopefully I am the first of many.

“La Real has had a great history of British coaches,” he said. “Some of the greatest British managers like Sir Bobby Robson and Terry Venables came to coach in the Liga.”

Sociedad won the Spanish league in 1981 and 1982 and finished runner-up three times, most recently in 2002-03.

With only two wins in the first 11 matches, Sociedad is in 15th place and level on points with two teams in the relegation zone. Sociedad did manage to get a boost by beating Atletico 2-1 last week under caretaker coach Imanol Alguacil, who will now be Moyes’ assistant. Erik Bretos will work as Moyes’ Spanish translator.

Moyes will make his debut at Deportivo La Coruna after the international break on Nov. 22.