New York Red Bulls youth coach Mike Jones was stabbed to death near Union Square in Manhattan early on Sunday morning.
Jones, 25, from Liverpool, was responsible for working with the Red Bulls’ junior players before they entered the club’s youth academy.
The Red Bulls confirmed Jones’ death and issued a statement saying he was a dedicated football fan and beloved friend.
“We are aware of this tragedy and on behalf of the entire organisation, want to send our most heartfelt condolences to Michael’s family, friends and loved ones,” the statement read.
“He was a tremendous individual, a fantastic coach who loved football and a terrific friend for many of us.
“This is truly a sad day for our football community and we will do our utmost to help authorities in their investigation of this case. Our thoughts and prayers are with Michael’s family at this time.”
An NYPD spokesman said the coach had been found with a severed ear and stab wounds to his head and neck.
Tim Cahill, the former Everton star who joined the Red Bulls in the summer, paid his own tribute via his official Twitter account.
“So sad to hear the news about Mike Jones a coach @NewYorkRedBulls, my thoughts are with his family and friends,” he wrote.
Police in Manhattan are still trying to determine a motive for the murder, and are yet to make any arrests.
Jones is not to be confused with former Red Bulls defender Mike Jones, who now plays for FC Hjorring in Denmark.