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Vermes turns down Sounders FC coaching job


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So who is the most wanted man in Major League Soccer? No, this isn’t a David Beckham joke. The answer, it turns out, is Kansas City Wizards technical director Peter Vermes. Less than a month after turning down an offer to become general manager of the Los Angeles Galaxy, now comes word that he has turned down an MLS head coaching job.

Seattle Sounders FC, the expansion franchise set to begin playing in 2009, offered Vermes its head coaching job and he has passed on the offer, sources with knowledge of the offer told SBI on Thursday. Sources have also told SBI that the job has also been discussed with one current MLS head coach.

The former U.S. national team standout and former player for the MetroStars, Rapids and Kansas City Wizards was offered the position by former U.S. national team and Colorado Rapids teammate Chris Henderson, who is now the Seattle technical director. Henderson also spent the 2007 season as an assistant coach with Kansas City, where he also worked with Vermes.

According to sources, Seattle has already reached out to three different coaching candidates, including Vermes and at least one current MLS head coach. Current Seattle Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer had been believed to be the front-runner for the Sounders FC position when the club was formed, but it has become clear that Henderson is looking for a head coach with MLS experience. Schmetzer was recently identified as a candidate for the job by Seattle general manager Adrian Hanauer.

A member of the 1990 U.S. World Cup team and key figure of the Kansas City Wizards’ MLS Cup winning squad in 2000, Vermes has made a smooth transition into the front office, helping rebuild the Wizards, which snapped a two-year playoff drought and reach last year’s Western Conference final. The Wizards are struggling this year but Vermes has helped Kansas City transition from an older team to a younger team with some quality draft picks the past two seasons.

Will Vermes stay in Kansas City? According to sources around MLS, Vermes is considered a strong candidate to take on a front office position with the Philadelphia expansion team, which is set to play in 2010. Vermes is a south Jersey native who went to high school just 15 miles from Philadelphia.

Who will Seattle turn to now? One potential candidate is Columbus Crew coach Sigi Schmid. Currently in the final year of his contract with Columbus, Schmid was Henderson’s college coach at UCLA and has helped guide the Crew to the best record in MLS in his third season in charge.

Former Colorado Rapids head coach Fernando Clavijo has been linked to the job in the past, and has ties to both Henderson and the city of Seattle, having coached the Seattle SeaDogs of the Continental Indoor Soccer League from 1994 to 1997.

It’s time for a poll:

What do you think of this news? Surprised to see Vermes offered a head coaching job? Do you think Seattle will lure away Schmid from Columbus? Can you see Vermes winding up in Philadelphia?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Seattle Sounder soccer attendance is close to double any other MLS team ., AND THE TEAM SHOULD THEREFORE HAVE AN INTERNATIONAl TOP COACH,. The pay should accordingly not be a factor. The Sounder management should advertise for a high caliber international coach
    capable of making the Sounders the best MLS team to meet the expectation of by far the largest
    soccer interest in the nation. MLS ARE TEAMS OF PROFESSIONAL PLAYERS, and looking for
    college coaches just are not going to advance the sport. Select an intelligent top imternational coach, and let him have the freedom without political interference., and the Sounders will soon be
    the top team in MLS.

  2. No Schmetzer… too much politics in US Soccer. In the end, in other US Sports, mostly the best players rise to the top. In US Soccer since the 1970s and especially in the 80s with Brian, it was all about who you know… that has been Schmetzer’s career (not blaming him for the political ties he has had throughout all of his Seattle playing and coaching career). Let’s get someone fresh, and best as a coach, not a political continuation with the past… we must break this sort of approach. For years, the Spain national team underperformed in major tournaments… why, because there were too many political choices on team selection…. for 50 years they could have won numerous major competitions… at least one or two world cups… but it was not to be because of all of the politics. Finally, this past year, they won Euro2008 and are now FIFA #1 ranked… all because soccer decisions were made instead of political ones. Let’s avoid continuing political choices here in Seattle now that we finally have a top division team coming back. One last thing, slightly off topic, but relevant… don’t overstack the Sounders with foreign players and don’t recycle them too often… it was a killer for Fan support in the old NASL days when a new crew of 8 Brits would come in year to year.

  3. GolSeattle, why come here with your spin? Do you work for the team? If not, then I doubt you have a clue. If you do, I’m sure you’ve been summoned to deliver us some spin because your first choice turned you down.

    And enough with the word VETTING. This isn’t the presidential election. Way to try and sound smart though.

  4. Asking if you are interested is wayyyy different than asking if you want the job.

    If Vermes is already planning to go to Philly at some point, good for him.

    I can’t imagine Sounders FC would go to the trouble of interviewing Vermes, vetting him out, offering him the job, and then be told he wants to go to Philly.

    Wouldn’t that kind of nugget come out in the vetting process before the offer?

  5. Henderson should make a special effort to NOT pick someone he knows well. He should select someone who is independent and who will challege Henderson and the Sounders. Looking for a comfortable appointment is suicidal.

  6. Paul Mariner makes sense. As a sign of goodwill to him, the city of Seattle can rename their baseball team after him…

    It pretty much rolls off the tongue…The Seattle Pauls.

  7. I know nothing about Schmetzer, but if he’s a good coach why not keep him? To me, Henderson’s claim that the coach requires MLS experience has nothing to do with coaching and everything to do with acquiring players and evaluating talent. Isn’t that really the job of Henderson and Hanuaer? I know certain coaches handle player acquisition as well with guys like Osorio and Schmid, but then you have setups like in DC and Chicago where coaches probably have some input, but the GMs are the guys who handle that side of things and let the coach handle things on the field.

    So that argument holds little water from my perspective.

  8. ives,

    i am sorry ives, but who is your source?

    I do not believe this story whatsoever.

    I can tell you for certain that the coaching decision will be made early November and the the USL coach Schmetzer will have a role in the new coaching staff, just dont know about the position.

  9. As a season ticket holder, I’d like to see a coach come in who favors creative attacking play. I’m not sure that guy exists in the current crop of potential candidates…

  10. It’s not hard to coach in MLS. What is hard is figuring MLS’s unnecessarily byzantine, petty and constantly shifting personnel “rules”. No amount of league experience helps there since the “rules”, well, change so often. And randomly. And pettily.

  11. Hey, Vermes – another guy from the 1989 squad that played T&T when Caligiuri hit The Shot.

    Slowly but surely, we’re going to get a “where are they now” of the entire team. Who’s up next – Windischmann?

  12. I don’t see any anti-USL bias here. I think what MLS has repeatedly shown is how hard it is for someone without MLS experience to come in and do well, whether it’s a college coach, USL coach, foreign coach. LAG argued that Cobi would be there to work with Gullit but a knowledgable GM or assistant or TD can only do so much.

    There are a lot of good USL coaches: Clarke might deserve another shot, I thought Lilly was always underrated. There are some foreign coaches who’d probably make the adjustment. Maybe Hyndman will be successful next year with FCD. But the bottom line is: there are very few coaches who jump directly from college or USSF or foreign leagues or USL and succeed.

    As for Nicol, he was almost hired by United (they went with Ray Hudson instead, coming off his great season with Miami). He then was an interim NE coach (after Zenga walked off the job). He then assisted Clavijo for half a season. To argue he had no MLS experience would not be true. Ditto with Osorio (who was a USL/A-league coach and then an MLS assistant then was on the United shortlist with Hamlett when they hired Nowak).

    Clavijo evidently interviews incredibly well which seems to be part of the reason he keeps getting jobs plus he had a great run with Haiti and also the indoor league. I personally think he’s a crap choice. And I don’t see Schmid as re-cycling. He was an outstanding college coach, is a USSF coach with a bunch of assisting or directing gigs like the U20’s. Wasn’t he supposed to be Klinsmann’s assistant if they’d inked a deal with USSF? Again, I don’t think he’s a great coach but if Columbus wins a title this year (and they’ve probably played the best and most consistent soccer of any team in MLS), it would be hard to not take a coach with two MLS titles includes the most recent. At a minimum, it looks like the Crew will get the SS.

    IF Schmid leaves for Seattle, who’d replace him? Their MO tends to be to hire within. I’d think that Warzyrcha (who has quite a history with the Crew) would at least get strong consideration.

  13. Those of us in Crew land hope Sigi isn’t going anywhere soon. It would be good if Seattle were to simply choose the best they can get. Schmetzer seems a good candidate. Although, I still can’t believe Mariner hasn’t been given a head coaching slot yet though. There are opitons.

  14. Wait a minute, why is Sigi in play? He has a first place team, what are they going to do, fire him? Oh yeah, that has already happened to him once. The crew would have to be morons not to re-sign him, I mean he brought Schelotto.

  15. Which repeated MLS failure should get a 163rd chance before an USL coach?

    [ ] Fernando Cluelessvijo

    [ ] Thomas Wrongman

    [ ] Steve Sampson

    [ ] Alexi Lalas

    [ ] Mo Johnston

  16. well it sounds like a good move for the guy if he wants to be closer to home. I also agree with the comment above about getting fresh blood in

  17. Henderson is a doof. What’s wrong with Schmetzer? Anyone else remember the anti-USL prejudice when Nicol was at Western Mass? And he has done pretty well for the Revs …

  18. This is the problem with Major League Soccer (and all soccer leagues for that matter). Coaches are just recycled. If Seattle hires Schmid then I’ll be interested to see who the Crew go after.

    If they hire Clavijo, then I’m going to be dumbfounded. No offense to him, but I don’t think he’s exactly the greatest coach. We’ve seen it throughout his MLS career and even this year, with his resigning for “personal reasons.”

    It’s time to get some fresh blood into the coaching ranks to have teams play different styles of soccer. I know there are a lot of great coaches who are just in the wrong situation and that’s why their tenure is unsuccessful, but I strongly believe there are a lot of great coaches who are not getting their fair shot.


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