The Bruce Arena Era is over, but the search for the next U.S. Men’s National Team coach is one that will take quite some time.
Speaking on a conference call on Friday, U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati says the federation will take its time when it comes to hiring a new permanent coach. For the time being, the federation will appoint someone to take charge of November friendlies before a more long-term fit is identified at some point later on.
That process could certainly come after the 2018 World Cup, when many of the world’s top international managers could be available.
“We’ve got two different processes,” Gulati said. “The first is a short-term process on who is going to take the team in November and then a longer review of the program and the decisions of the long-term planning of the coach.
“We don’t need a long-term four-year commitment to a coach by February or March. I’m not saying that won’t happen, but it’s not necessary. What we need is someone to guide the team in November and that’s a much easier, straight-forward decision because it’s a short-term situation.”
With Gulati’s status as president up in the air come election time next year, the U.S. Soccer president says the decision isn’t solely h’is. He has the final decision being the head of the federation, but a group of three or four will work to identify the hire for November while a long-term group will take their time to find someone later on.
As for where they’ll look, Gulati played coy. His past two hires have been Jurgen Klinsmann and Bruce Arena, both who’ve come with very different backgrounds and goals. Gulati said he could go international again or he could stay at home, but it really all depends on fit.
“No, I don’t think there’s a definitive profile,” Gulati said. “It’s someone that can lead the team to success and help us with the overall technical improvement. From my perspective, right now, we’ll talk internally on whether it’s international or domestic or what the specific profile or characteristics are.”
In addition to the coaching role, Gulati said the program would ideally like to have a technical director. The position has been left unfilled since Klinsmann’s departure, although Gulati said that Tab Ramos, a likely candidate for the head coaching position, has essentially performed in the role since last Fall. Ramos currently has the title of U-20 coach and youth technical director, but he has generally overseen everything on the youth level as well as player development.
That role, Gulati says, is harder to fill and harder to judge. Like the permanent head coaching hire, the federation will take their time when it comes to restructuring the player development side over the coming weeks and months.
“We’ll take our time with that,” Gulati said. “Fortunately, we have the luxury of time before we have competitive games again with the senior team, but all of our youth teams and a number of our women’s teams are still playing. We’ll probably get some external help so as to we’re not insular when we look at these things.
“Basically, everything will be looked at. It’s not acceptable to us, to leadership, to our board and certainly not to our fans and everyone else involved in the game.”