It has taken him seven years to get back into the MLS mix, but Octavio Zambrano is set to return to Major League Soccer.
Zambrano is poised to join the Kansas City Wizards as an assistant coach, sources have confirmed to SBI. We mentioned the Zambrano-KC connection a few weeks back and the sides appear to have finalized a deal to bring the former MetroStars and LA Galaxy head coach back to MLS as a member of Peter Vermes' coaching staff. An announcement is expected in the coming days. (UPDATE-The Wizards have formally announced the hiring in a press release released on Thursday afternoon.)
"This is a great opportunity to return to MLS and join an organization with such a strong vision," Zambrano said in the statement released by the Wizards. "I anxiously await coming to Kansas City to start working with the team and preparing for the 2010 season."
Zambrano is back in MLS for the first time since 2002, when he was let go as MetroStars head coach. His inability to find another job in MLS has been one of the more inexplicable storylines in MLS for years, and a subject I wrote about on ESPN three years ago. As a head coach of the MetroStars and Galaxy, Zambrano fielded some of the best attacking teams in MLS history, but has had to wait for seven years for another chance to coach in MLS.
Zambrano has spent the past three years in Eastern Europe, coaching Moldivan club Tiligul and Hungarian club FC Talabanya.
What is our take? The hiring is a smart and gutsy move by the Wizards, who add an experienced coach with a proven track record of success in MLS. Zambrano has been away from the league for several years, but has continued to follow MLS closely, and has actually been in attendance at recent MLS Combines. With his qualities as a coach, don't be surprised to see Zambrano as a head coach in MLS again in the near future.
What do you think of Zambrano joining the Wizards? Glad to see him back. Can you see him as a head coach in MLS again?
Share your thoughts below.