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Who is your 2009 MLS Coach of the Year?

Bruce Arena 1 (

It might be one of the easier categories to vote for, but the 2009 MLS coach of the year race has more than just one worthy candidate.

Los Angeles Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena is the clear front-runner for the award, as he should be, but some other coaches have also enjoyed quality seasons. Sigi Schmid deserves kudos for guiding an expansion team to a playoff berth, while rookie head coach Robert Warzycha should get some credit for guiding the Columbus Crew to the best record in MLS. Then you have FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman, who has helped steer FCD to the brink of a playoff spot.

Who do you think should be the 2009 MLS Coach of the Year?

Who did you vote for? Who would you vote second on your ballot? Which coach wasn't on our ballot who you think deserved to be on?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I will give that in most leagues expansion team do not do well. However MLS is a different story. The expansion Chicago Fire in 1998 won the MLS championship in their first season.

    Yes people had a lot of questions about Seattle coming into the season but those were done away with after the first month. I still think that Seattle had a special season but after the disaster of the last two years the Galaxy were turned around by Arena and I think that wins out.

  2. Right. Congratulations to Arena.

    All he did was take a team with Donovan and Beckham and turn them into a team with 11 wins, 12 draws, and a +3 goal differential, the worst in the west outside of San Jose’s -12.

    Arena is a cynic, a negative tactician. The Dick Cheney of soccer.

  3. Will never forgive Arena for selecting Reyna as US captain 2006 World Cup; resulting in a travesty against Ghana. Never forgive Arena for allocating guaranteed 500,000$/year for a physically debilitated handicapped and beyond washed-up Claudia Reyna for the Red Bulls costing them 1.5 million$’s.

  4. Eh, LA lost Donovan to the NATS more often than all these guys, and I say he’s worth more than the three of them combined as well.

  5. I voted for Sigi!

    Well done to Bruce Arena, but all he did was take a team that was underperforming and got them to play to their potential.

    Sigi had to create a team from scratch. He couldn’t get the talent he needed in the MLS so he found Montero, Hurtado, Alonso, and Ljungberg. And he took an expansion team to the playoffs in their first year.

    Is there anyone here who doubts that Sigi would have won the league had he been coaching LA?

  6. bruce gets my vote for reasons that have been stated. all those ties in the first half of the season now look genious.

    socrates, preki is my close second. i think he is totally undervalues and I’m surprised he isn’t spoken about more in regards to usmnt spots (younger age group).

  7. Fat Sigi. I agree that taking an expansion side into the playoffs is more difficult than a last place team into first- especially one that includes LD & Becks.

  8. Right on . I’m a big Preki fan. I’d be excited to see what he could do with a more talented team ala Houston, Columbus, Chicago.

  9. It’s impossible to argue against Bruce and Sigi, and between those two, flip a coin. What’s a harder starting point? 2 great players surrounded by drama and carp, or nothing?

    I’m just incredibly proud of what my man Schellas has done in such a short time, and he 100% deserves to be on this list. IMHO he should be getting more votes than Warzycha, who needs to couple a supporter’s shield and MLS Cup THIS year for anyone to argue for his coaching mettle. Anyone can win a few games with that team. Not to bash him, he just has higher expectations with that starting roster (and he could very well achieve those expectations). Anyway, hurrah Schellas and go Hoops. Win and in (virtually)

  10. Coach of the year should be based on expectations. Before the season started, except for Seattle fans, the Sounders were almost unanimously were picked to finish last.

    Sounder fans were constantly lectured that expansion teams do not win or make the playoffs.

    There were many threads that Ljungberg was finished. Other articles talked about Marshall being too slow and that he was done.

    There are teams in all sports that have a big turnaround year, we in Seattle saw this with the Mariners. But, when has an expansion team in any established sport done as well as the Sounders? I cannot think of one.

    So again, while LAG did exceed their expectations, they didn’t come close to exceeding them as much as the Sounders.

    My vote went to Sigi.

    P.S. I am not a homer, my vote would not have went to the Seattle Mariners manager.

  11. Sigi came close, but he had a lot more help that the Bruce. WIth Ljungberg, Keller, etc. set before he even came on board, if I remember correctly. LAG on the other hand, were a complete mess before Arena joined up and has totally rebuilt that team. It is hard not to vote for Warzycha being a Crew fan, but he just had so much more to start with than the other candidates, but kudos to him just the same for making the most of his first head coaching chance.

  12. Kinnear is one win away from the top seed in the west despite losing his star player, #2 forward and 3 out of 4 defenders. I voted for Sigi, but Dom gets an honorable mention.

  13. He got my vote!

    I fully expected FC Dalla to be abysmal. Especially after they got rid of Coop.

    But I was wrong. So glad I was. Two guys to credit. JC and Hyndman!

  14. I think that the award will go to Arena. I think that Warzycha deserves it more being a first-year manager and all. I have come to learn that if it is a race between a Galaxian and someone from another club then the Galaxian generally takes the prize. It has to do with the Galaxy being the flagship franchise in MLS.

  15. All players that no one else wanted, or at least could have tried to sign. Prior to the start of the 2008 Sounders season. I also seem to remember a lot of bashing about the DP.

    I think either Arena or Sigi deserve the award.

  16. I would not put Warzycha in this group because, frankly, Columbus had essentially the same squad it used to win MLS Cup last year, and Warzycha knew these players well from his time as a Crew assistant.

    Arena deserves the award because he single-handedly turned the joke of the league into a respectable club (Unfortunately, Tim Leiweke is still president and CEO, which means that things will never be totally sane in L.A.).

    Ives, I’m very surprised you didn’t list Preki. This is the second consecutive year he has had to deal with massive numbers of injuries to put a winning team on the field. Add to that the late additions of Maicon Santos and Yamith Cuesta (Jesus Padilla really has yet to prove himself), and Preki had twice done a great job keeping a club from reaching the brink.

    Hyndman doesn’t deserve to be ranked in this group, either, because his players feel no pressure right now. Let’s see what happens next year.

  17. Arena by a mile. He not only turned around the Galaxy and massaged the egos on that team, but he showed that the problems in New York were really on the field (and not with his management of the team).

    I just wonder if USSF will ever recognize Arena’s worth as a coach and maybe give him a shot with the Nats one day :=O

  18. Coaches get too much credit and blame for player performances. I don’t think Preki had anything to do with Thornton’s turnaround.

    I think Schmid deserves a lot of credit for what’s happened in Seattle, but Arena has turned a bad team into a very strong one in the course of one season. I have to give him the nod.

  19. Seriously, I vote for Preki.

    – Still has shot to get Shield, or at least win the West.
    – Best player from last year (Kljestan) has been crap until week 25.
    – Plucked Thornton of trash heap and turned him into GK of the year.
    – Team led league in shutouts despite having no stars in defense — the one MNT guy (Bornstein) has not played his Nats position, being used at CB and also at LM sometimes.
    – Lost key attacking players from last year: Mendoza called back to CD Chivas, Razov injured, Galindo missed a lot of time, Esky traded, Harris traded, Kljestan lost form. Team dropped from 1.33 goals per game last year to just over 1 this year.
    – Do they have any players that other good teams would want? They are grinding out results with Nagamura, Marsch, and a rotating cast of odds and ends.

  20. I thought JCO was going to be a good coach…what the he!! happened? One of the worst teams in history. And talk about talent evaluation, poor JCO he missed that bus.

  21. I know…haha I just felt like being a show off.

    Ives why don’t you use the new reply feature, I totally almost missed your comment

  22. Hyndman – are you kidding? He’s upset just about every player and fan, run out two captains and were it not for Jeff Cunningham getting improbably hot – like hottest streak in MLS history – they’yd only be competing for the wooden spoon.

    Hyndman is a fraud, and as soon as Jeff remembers he’s old and not actually that talented, his squad will hit true form again.

  23. Reasons that Arena’s job was harder, and thus more impressive:

    – Reversing a culture of losing is harder than starting w/ a blank slate.
    – Sigi benefitted from the expansion draft which gave him 3 starters — Riley, Evans, and Jaqua.
    – Ljungberg has done more as a DP there than Beckham has this year.
    – Sea has awesome fan base.

    Sigi does get some props for talent evaluation:

    – #1 draft pick Zakuani has been a starter and good contributor, bucking the trend of #1 flops.
    – Good foreign signings: Hurtado and Montero are all-star level, Alonso and Gonzales are good.

    But so does Bruce:

    – got good production from some MLS vets: Miglioranzi, Kovalenko, Dunivant, Magee, Kirovski. (Sigi did well to make Marshall look way better this year than last).
    – Started two rookies in defense (so did Steve Nicol in NE) and did well.
    – Recycled some of his former Nats and did well (Lewis, Berhalter, Sanneh, Kirovski — ok Sanneh sucked).

  24. technically Robert Warzycha isn’t in his rookie year with the crew as he was the interm coach a few years back

    (SBI-Key word being interim.)

  25. I’m a big fan of what Sigi has done, but Arena turned a woeful team into a MLS cup contender. I’ll still be happy to watch them lose to my Sounders though. 🙂

  26. wow. halfway through the season everyone was hailing Dominic Kinnear as the greatest, and look how things changed – he’s not even mentioned here. I voted Sigi cuz he lifted an expansion team to the playoffs; a team with an eclectic group but still figured out how to establish a good, synchronous rhythm.

    Upon further review, I’d have to say Bruce deserves it more since he dealt with the chaos (on + off the field) that was the Galaxy and made a freakin great team out of ’em. That gives him a bigger challenge. (Sigi has a super organization behind him and thus it was easier; what coach would not wanna coach with support like that?)

  27. Arena because he turned LA around. the people who say Sigi created something out of nothing are a bit wrong. Seattle did bring players from their division 2 team and got a designated player along with a returning American. Not sure any other expansion team has had any of those and I know none have had all of those.

    On Hyndman he is changing things but is also riding the hottest scoring streak in league History I believe.

  28. Consider this: LA had the best offense last year of any team – it’s just that they had a horrible offense. Not to take away from the great job Arena has done with the team this year, but his main concern was improving the defense.

    Sigi Schmid, along with the rest of the Seattle coaching staff, had to create an entire team from the bottom up, and they did so brilliantly. That’s why he gets my vote.

  29. Arena, no contest. He changed the results and culture of an entire organization. Even when Donovan and Becks don’t play they are a good team.


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