Good morning and Happy Cyber Monday all (okay, so maybe it's not a holiday). Apologies for the late start to the day, but the changeover from West Coast time to East Coast time has officially ruined my sleep patterns, which isn't good for getting sleep, but is good for writing 3am posts.
There are a bunch of topics to discuss, most of them being MLS related, so let's just jump in:
The New York Red Bulls will officially introduce Erik Soler as the team's new general manager later this week. If you were assuming that the hiring of a foreign GM would mean that an MLS head coach would be brought in, think again. There are signs pointing to the club hiring a foreign head coach.
Who are some of the names being floated around for the head coaching position? Sources tell SBI that a leading candidate being considered strongly is former Norwegian national team manager Ã…ge Hareide. A former Norwegian national team teammate of Soler, Hareide has enjoyed success as a coach in different countries, having won league titles in Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Hareide most recently coached Swedish club Orgryte, but parted ways with the club just last week, with reports out of Norway suggesting that he was weighing other coaching offers.
While Hareide isn't a name known by most Red Bulls fans, another candidate being considered has a bit more name cachet.
Former Arsenal legend and one-time Portsmouth manager Tony Adams is being mentioned in MLS circles as a potential candidate. No, Adams doesn't have much of a managerial resume to speak of, but he does have a strong relationship with Thierry Henry, his former Arsenal teammate and the Red Bulls' expected summer Designated Player target.
What's the scariest part about the possibility of the Red Bulls hiring a foreign head coach to go with a foreign general manager, thus giving the club two people in charge who don't know anything about MLS? There's the track record of foreign coaches in MLS, which is bad enough, but there is also the frightening possibility that the Red Bulls new leadership could be counting on former technical director Jeff Agoos for help with understanding how MLS operates.
Yes, you read that right, the man who co-authored one of the worst teams in MLS history could wind up having a key role with the same team he helped run into the ground last season. Agoos still has a job with the team, and has been essentially operating as a scout for the club in recent months, but with a potential head coach and GM having no practical MLS knowledge, and with current interim head coach Richie Williams a candidate for multiple head coaching positions, Agoos could wind up being the only person on the Red Bulls with working knowledge of MLS. And you thought the scenarios in the movie 2012 were scary.
In Chicago, it is looking like Chris Armas isn't interested in coming back to the Fire as head coach. Sources tell SBI that Armas isn't looking to be included in the mix to replace Denis Hamlett, though he is still believed to be the top target of the Fire front office. The Fire has been in contact with other leading coaching candidates within MLS, but don't be surprised if the Fire keeps going after Armas.
In Philadelphia, the Union can begin to start making deals to sign players on Tuesday and one player who could be heading to the Union is Jeremiah White. Sources tell SBI that White is set to leave AGF Aarhus in January and Philadelphia is in talks to bring White to the Union. Philadelphia holds the top spot in the MLS allocation order, meaning the club can have first crack at signing White if he does sign with MLS.
Speaking of the Union, look for an ESPN.com piece from me on the Philly Union to appear later today. Among the things touched on in the piece is Peter Nowak's philosophy on designated players. The sense I get based on Nowak's comments is that the Union will be looking long and hard for one. There had been concerns about whether Philadelphia would sign one given the rumored financial troubles of Union owner Jay Sugarman, but Nowak sounds like a coach who has been given the green light to sign one if he can find one who is an ideal fit.
Last, but certainly not least, the voting for the U.S. Soccer "Best of" series has begun and U.S. soccer fans can vote on the following categories:
SBI will be looking to defend its title as Best Soccer Blog, so be sure to vote for SBI early and often. Voting for the awards closes on Dec. 13.
What do you think of these developments? Surprised that the Red Bulls would hire a foreign coach AND a foreign GM? Like the idea of Jeremiah White joining Philadelphia?
Share your thoughts below.