Photo by USA Today Sports Images
By FRANCO PANIZO
The Philadelphia Union are getting closer to identifying their next head coach, and their short list for the position holds quite a few interesting names.
Union CEO Nick Sakiewicz identified to MLSsoccer.com some of the candidates in contention to take the reigns of the club, including current interim head coach Jim Curtin, former Montreal Impact head coach Jesse Marsch and U.S. Men’s National Team legends Tony Meola and John Harkes.
Sakiewicz is open to both American and foreign coaches, but did not offer a timetable as to when a decision will be made because he and the club are currently focusing on the upcoming U.S. Open Cup final against the Seattle Sounders.
“I’m taking my time,” Sakiewicz told league’s website. “Jim’s doing a great job with what he’s been given. I’m very proud of the job he’s done. There’s no rush to do anything. We’re playing in our first championship final in three weeks, so I would say our efforts and focus is more on that than it is on the coaching search.”
The Union will play in the first final in club history when the host the Seattle Sounders on Sept. 16 at PPL Park. Curtin led Philadelphia to that milestone and has the Union on the brink of winning some silverware, but Sakiewicz stopped short of saying Curtin was the front-runner for the position when asked.
“Jim has a front-row seat on this one,” said Sakiewicz. “He’s doing everything he needs to do. He’s been with us since he was the U-18 coach at our academy. I would say there’s nothing Jim can do differently that would be in his favor. He’s already got a huge advantage because he’s been in our club for four years.”
Sakiewicz wants to see Curtin guide the Union to an Open Cup title and an MLS playoff berth, but stated that neither of those achievements would necessarily factor into his decision for a permanent coach.
The Union relieved John Hackworth of his head-coaching duties and appointed Curtin as the interim manager on June 10 after a slow start to the season. Since then, Philadelphia has moved to within a point of a postseason spot in the Eastern Conference.
Who do you think the Union should turn to as their permanent head coach? Would Curtin be a good choice, or should it depend on how he does in the Open Cup final and rest of the MLS regular season? Who would be the best choice out of Harkes, Meola and Marsch?
Share your thoughts below.