SBI MLS Coach of the Year: Frank Yallop


Some years it can be really difficult to settle on one head coach to consider the clear-cut choice for MLS Coach of the Year, but 2012 was not one of those years.

After guiding the San Jose Earthquakes to one of the most impressive and surprising seasons in MLS history, Frank Yallop stood head and shoulders above his peers. Not only did he help put together a roster that ran away with the MLS Supporters Shield, Yallop also put together a lineup that thrived when its back was against the wall.

A team that missed the playoffs in 2011, the Earthquakes became the league’s most dangerous attack and developed a habit for pulling off second-half comebacks, in many cases not until stoppage time. That penchant for late-game heroics helped the Earthquakes finish in first place in the stacked MLS Western Conference ahead of teams that spent more money, but didn’t have nearly the success.

All these things made Frank Yallop the easy selection for SBI MLS Coach of the Year. He beat out a field of candidates that didn’t come close, but that did impress in their own right.

Here is a look at the other candidates:


When Dwayne DeRosario was lost for the regular season with an injury with a month to go in the season, D.C. United looked doomed and destined for another late-season collapse like 2011. Olsen had other ideas, helping guide D.C. to an impressive finish to the season that left the team in second place in the Eastern Conference when it was all over.


It was no surprise that Sporting KC wound up repeating as regular season champions of the Eastern Conference, but Vermes gets the credit for helping mold Sporting into a defensive juggernaut and U.S. Open Cup Champion.


The Montreal Impact didn’t make the playoffs in their first year of existence, but they came closer than most would have expected and credit for that falls to Marsch, who helped the Impact set a new Canadian record for wins in a season. Marsch helped the team overcome a poor start to the season to challenge for a playoff spot in the final weeks.


What did you think of this year’s Coach of the Year field? Which coach impressed you the most in 2012?

Share your thoughts below.

  • Matt DCU

    I disagree. Yallop is not a clear cut winner. To me, it’s Ben Olsen’s award. I know he won’t win it because MLS will favor Yallop, but here’s my reasoning.

    Ben took a toothless DC United team to something short of the playoff last year. That was good, but irrelevant. This year, Ben Olsen took a very young DC United team and led them to a 3rd place MLS finish. He pulled the strings with key substitutions and lineups, being just as important as Chris Pontius or Dwayne De Rosario. He took DC United back to the playoffs, and convincingly so. Just look at some of the games. DC’s 3-2 win v Columbus, 1-0 v Toronto, to name a few in recent memory. Oh yeah, and a certain 3-2 win against the reigning European champions Chelsea. Ben Olsen was key in his substitutions and tactics. Not to take too much away from Yallop and San Jose, but I don’t know how much a coach determines a 90+ goal made by a single player.

    Yallop did well too, making San Jose and Wondo do so well. But to me, it’s not like what Olsen did. Yallop would be a worthy winner, but to me the award should be Ben’s.


    • Josh

      I can agree Olsen is close to Yallop for this award, but I don’t think citing a win over Toronto and at home vs. Columbus are the best way to make your case. Not to mention, both wins came in late fashion, the exact same argument you make against Yallop/SJ. Argument goes both ways


    • vik

      That’s just Yallop’s coaching style. He likes to pick guys he think gel well and let them figure it out on the field. He’s unlikely to make substitutions unless someone’s injured or if the team doesn’t adapt to an opponent’s change after 15-20mins. He generally does not like subbing to counter opponents changes unless he absolutely has to.
      His skill is finding the right players for his coaching style, and giving them freedom to show their character on the pitch. It’s harder to define his contributions in such an environment, but the quakes season long results (on a very reasonable team salary) show that he knows how to put good teams together. I think he deserves coach of the year. That’s not to say Olsen doesn’t deserve it… but wtv.


    • JRP

      The second year Jason K.coached RSL they won the cup. The year after they won the cup they finished second in the league standings. They went to the finals of Concacaf. He never got coach of the year from anyone.
      Awards are not for young men. They are for old men. This is why Bruce gets so many. Bruce is not a great coach. He is an OK coach.
      Ben is good and shows potential. He has done a lot. When he gets enough ear hair he will start winning awards.


  • elgringorico

    BENNY OLSEN, for reasons stated above. he dealt with more injuries to key players and completely turned a team around through his leadership. At least him and yallop are neck and neck.


  • bizzy

    whats even more impressive about this coach is he doesn’t have any “million” or better yet “half million dollar” player on his team. He’s highest paid player is Wondolowski. A coach that doesn’t just go for the best but sows and harvests talent and skill to fit his team…his style of play, able to see something out of nothing, gradually developing into the best, the true meaning of coaching. Some top Player salaries on his team:
    Wondolowski $300,000
    Stephenson $190,000
    Gordon $110,000
    Lenhart $180,000
    Charvez $150,000
    Morrow $44,100 (are you serious!!!)
    Beitsahour $44,100(really!!!!)
    He bring out individual qualities of his players, puts them together and orchestrates a team thats on top of the charts. Good choice for coach of the year


    • beachbum

      you make Yallop’s case very well, I agree. On roster construction and salaries and the true meaning of coaching, there’a more to it I think than how you put it, but Yallop does define the true meaning well from his coaching position with San Jose


      • Knuckles

        And Wondo is, at present, highly underpaid. He should be a DP next season.


  • Jake

    Huge fan of Olsen and United, but the award goes to Yallop. I agree that it should be a discussion, but I think SJ’s dominance and ability to continue to pull out wins and ties was just amazing. Some credit has to go to the coach. DC looked somewhat pedestrian for long stretches this year.


  • beachbum

    Yallop deserves it, congrats to him. Olsen would have deserved it in my eyes too.

    Yallop has suited his team’s tactics to his players abilities very well, as usual, whatever those tactics are for his teams’ varied abilities over the years. This year no different.


  • pdublu

    Bruce Arena and Sigi Schmidt deserve a mention. Arena for pulling his side out of a tailspin and being successful in the CCL, Schmidt for making the playoffs for the 4th year in a row, making it to the Open Cup final for the 4th year in a row, and dominating the Sounders’ CCL group. None of the above, save Vermes, managed anything comparable.


    • JRP

      I held a friends head under water until he lost consciousnesses and then did CPR and saved him from death. I am a hero.
      Bruce Arena deserves to be fired not given an award. The first half of the season was a joke and a disgrace to the league.


      • JRP

        So the reason the rest of the team played like crap the first half of the season was Gonzo’s knee? Really? You can’t believe that.
        No one player is that important. Gonzo’s knee was not the only failure. The coach has to take blame for a lot of what happened early in the season. Gonzo’s knee couldn’t have been more then 30% of what was wrong with LA.


      • Gnarls

        The results speak for themselves. Look at LA’s record with and without Gonzo.


      • beachbum

        should have been fired? turns out that decision would have been pretty dumb. You underestimate Gonzo’s impact and the musical chair backline early in the year that would leak goals on any team . The rest of the team didn’t necessarily suck either, a distortion on your part, but no doubt they pressed early trying to compensate for the goal party going on against them. Dunivant was out for a while, and so was Saunders in rehab, and losing Berhalter hurt too. Not as simple as you are saying


    • Knuckles

      I’m a Sounders fan, and love Sigi, but I think the winner has to be Ben Olsen. The only real strike in his favor is his insistence on playing Pajoy way too damn much. Good god, that guy is terrible.


      • MiamiAl

        Despite it all, Pajoy has delivered when DC needed it, especially the goal against his old team. Pajoy does have a high work rate. He is not pretty, and can miss some real open netters, but the guy is a hustler.


  • PD

    I suppose you’ll change this to Kinnear after Houston wins the trophy?


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