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Who would you hire to coach your MLS expansion team?

Paul Mariner ( 

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With rumors circulating that the Philadelphia Union has already selected its first head coach, you have to wonder just who are the best head coaching candidates in MLS these days. With foreign coaches in recent years showing that coaching in MLS without experience in the league is extremely difficult, it is difficult to imagine that Philadelphia, or any of the upcoming expansion teams, would turn to coaches who didn't know the league well.

So who are the best head coaching candidates out there? New England assistant Paul Mariner (pictured), Houston assistant John Spencer, New York assistant Richie Williams, U.S. national team assistant Peter Nowak and Kansas City general manager Peter Vermes are among the most respected names, while several former MLS head coaches, such as Puerto Rico Islanders head coach Colin Clark and LA Galaxy assistant Dave Sarachan are also possibilities.

Who would you hire? If you were set to launch an expansion team next year which head coach would you look to be signing up this summer?

Share your selection, and why you would pick them, in the comments section below.


  1. I would hire John Harkes. A great player, international and European experience. Respected throughout the game, his calm demeanor would be great for a team like Philadelphia or Portland.

  2. I am with you Dantheblue…Cobi Jones would be my choice. He has all the MLS experience that a coach could have or want, he understudied for Rudd Guillet, and had a spell as head coach as well. He is ready to become Captain of the Enterprise…I wish he was DC United’s coach.

  3. I would lure Bruce Arena away from LA, with Klinsmann probably wanting back in LA it would still give LA a top notch coach. Plus Bruce is east coast and all his ties and cronies are over there. Sarachan come on get real. Cobi doesn’t like cold weather, rumor has it he would take the Miami job in a heart beat though if a team was around. Bradley is our National Team coach for the next 8 years. Would Preki take the job is a good question? Martin Vasquez is also back in the states after spending some time with Bayern. He has international exposure. Hmmm Interesting..

  4. “Plus, these guys don’t come cheap and there will always be another job for them to take for more money.”

    …that’s exactly what I said. Again, I agree that hiring a high-profile manager is silly, but not because they can’t hack it in the US.

    Ruud’s fantastic stint? I think you’re implying that he’s in that category of “Top European Managers.” I’d argue that he never did well anywhere and was a silly signing to begin with.

    MLS is a unique league, but I’m not at all convinced that great managers from elsewhere are incapable of learning it. “Hey, Jose. We have this thing called college soccer. And we have this thing called a draft. And we like to trade players. If you need any help, you’ve got a sizable support staff.”

    There’s a misconception that marginal players in Europe can come to the MLS and run the show. There’s a similar misconception that any manager with European experience can come over and lead a team to victory. I think both have been proven untrue. I’m simply saying that a good manager is a good manager. I think it’s wrong to say foreign managers can’t grasp MLS/the USMNT and I also think it’s misinformed to blame all past failures on “the system”…if you’d like, I could start listing American managers that were promoted through the ranks that have totally bombed.

  5. A good manager is a good manager anywhere? Right. You mean like Carlos Alberto Parreira? How about Bora Milutinovic? There was always Ruud’s fantastic stint. Basically, the system has more hurdles than you know. Plus, these guys don’t come cheap and there will always be another job for them to take for more money.

    MLS teams aren’t breaking the bank to sign players, so why would they do it for coaches?

    What are the chances that Octavio Zambrano returns to MLS?

  6. AG, that’s funny. I’ve heard about Arena’s arrogance and didn’t factor that into my post. Nice call.


  7. No really, SCHELLAS HYNDMAN! You hear us, Philly (barring that, Portland or Vancouver)? Schellas Hyndman.

    He’s… great… and stuff. You very much want to hire him.

  8. Dan, if arrogance played a huge role in getting things done, RBNY would have won under Bruce and LA would be in first place now. 🙂


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