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Report: Pareja in the running for USMNT head coach position


As the search for the next head coach of the United States Men’s National team continues, a new contender for the post has emerged

Al Dia is reporting that FC Dallas head coach Oscar Pereja was interviewed for the position over the weekend by representatives of U.S. Soccer.

Pareja has let his interest in the USMNT coaching job be known, having recently made comments about the role prior to his recent discussions with U.S. Soccer.

“For us, that’d be a project we’ve been striving for so hard, to keep contributing to this country from our chairs to the best of our capabilities,” Pareja recently told Al Dia. “And for that level, that’d be putting ourselves in a privileged position to make things happen instead of watching from the sidelines.”

“I think the national team is in need of renovation. But I think it must get revamped under coaches who are knowledgeable of the system.”

Since the current coaching search began, there has been a strong belief that an American coach would be hired, but while Pareja may not be American, he has worked in the American soccer system long enough to be considered a strong candidate with the necessary knowledge of the American system to handle the job.

“I’m convinced the national team needs a coach who knows the culture and the American player,” Pareja recently told Al Dia. “Whoever is chosen, he must know the roots and the history of North American soccer.

Pareja has enjoyed a largely successful stint as FC Dallas head coach the last five seasons and is the ninth coach to reach the 100-win milestone in MLS history. He’s the third-fastest to reach the mark (228 matches), placing him behind Bob Bradley (199) and Bruce Arena (188). He was named the MLS Coach of the Year in 2016 where he led FC Dallas to a Supporters’ Shield with a league-best 17-8-9 season, and a U.S. Open Cup title.

He’s worked with U.S. Soccer in the past as an assistant on the U-17 national side from 2007-08 and was the Director of Youth Player Development from 2008-11 where he built one of the nation’s best academy systems.

Dave Sarachan has led the USMNT on an interim basis since last November after the United States failed to qualify for the FIFA World Cup for the first time in over three decades.


  1. I think that the federation thought that this would be a very sought after position and they now realize it probably isn’t and don’t want to try and not f#ck it up and its put them in a tough position. Earnie I think is in a tough spot right now, he wants someone to understand American players and how they play, well the majority of them(the young and probably best ones are either overseas or heading that way soon) probably don’t see the game like Americans of the past. So why have that mindset? Hire the best coach/manager to fit the player pool. Build around your best players and the formation that suits them don’t try and put a square plug into a round hole. But what I do like about Earnie is he has made some bold moves with his decisions with coaches/managers in the past and a pretty decent job

  2. Different Perspective…

    As an Atl Untied fan I remember most fans saying we needed our first coach to be someone with lots of MLS experience and knowledge of the American soccer system, too many foreign coaches had crashed and burned at managing in MLS with the salary cap rules gam and tam etc, travel and weather, etc..

    Atl hired Martino a total outsider and the rest is history. Although he did have Eales and Bocanegra to manage the American difference for him.

    • I think most of the calls for it “has to be an American” came at the end of Klinsy’s reign. People thought the reason the locker room was divided and the guys weren’t playing hard was him not understanding American football. Then Arena divided the locker room and the guys looked like a lazy rec league team in Trinidad, so most people just want someone who can do the job regardless of nationality. Yes, a few believe it has to be an American, but some people think guys like Jones, Johnson, Brooks, and CCV didn’t belong on the team.

      • johnny_razor, if you look at bruce arena’s body of work as a whole, starting from when he took over at university of virginia in 1978 and up until then end of his tenure at la galaxy in 2016, that span is 38 years. and during those 38 years, this man was beatles-abbey-road legendary. arena did not merely demonstrate an understanding of usa soccer culture, HE HELPED TO CREATE IT. let us not forget.

        like elvis and babe ruth, both of whom were legends in their times, but experienced a “peak” and then a “fall” at the end, so did bruce arena. we don’t remember the fat elvis or the fat babe ruth, do we? we remember the young, amazing versions of these two men, yes? bruce arena did not become fat, but he did experience a “fall” at the end. as time passes, i believe that we will adjust our focus and we will remember the great bruce arena during the years 1978-2016 and think not so much about his “fall” at the end of his career. like elvis, like babe ruth.

    • tata has been awesome for atl, indeed! i also liked senegal-born arsenal man, nycfc’s patrick vieira and scotland-born liverpool man steve nichol at new england. and moreover, i’m totally rooting for argentina-born boca juniors man schelotto to take his coaching game to an mls club in 2019. doesn’t everyone here feel the same way about these four great foreign coaches in mls?

      there is much precendent for foreign coaches to excel in mls clubs, yes?

      but not so for our usmnt, i think. jurgen klinsmann demonstrated a complete lack of understanding of the usa player, our usa soccer culture, nor even did he understand our soccer-related hopes and dreams. and his jet-set life style seemed uber chic at the time, but as the disconnect grew between our coach and the usa soccer culture, what began as a lure quickly became a resentment and a sore spot for usa soccer fans.

      ernie stewart wsa clear, this will not happen again. the next usa coach will speak english, live in chicago, and be in daily face-to-face communication with the us soccer front office staff, working together daily as a team. this person will not live on a beach. nor will this person want to live on a beach. this person will understand usa soccer culture and the usa soccer player and the hopes and dreams of all usa soccer fans. this person will put out a winning team that plays an attractive style of football that we all can identify as being our own “usa style”. this team will have teamwork together on and off the field, at all times making everyone in the usa soccer culture feeling proud of them.

      the requirements for usmnt coach are a little different, a little more specific than for an mls club. tata proves that an mls coach doesn’t really need to speak english. so for example, let david moyes take over at atlanta if tata leaves, but no, he’s not our man for the usmnt.

      Moyes interested in vacant USMNT head coach position

      • i mean moyes speaks english, but his background (other than working with tim howard) probably doesn’t qualify him to meet any of the other criteria. i doubt moyes will be happy living in chicago and meeting with ussoccer staff daily. just the whole lifestyle of it would i’m guessing probably not suit this man.

      • but i’ll bet moyes would LOVE coaching hypothetically in atlanta were the position to open up. i’ll bet the atlanta brass would say lovingly to moyes, “you can live where ever you want, you can pretty much run the team any way you want and do whatever you want, as long as you’re winning games.” (and i’ll bet he would do it, too!)

  3. i love you guys dearly. i really do. but goddam, how can we all spend so much time together here (virtual collaboration) and some of you guys still JUST DON’T “GET IT”. not trying to be mean or anything, but goddam! i’m so glad ernie stewart is the gm of us soccer and not some of you guys.

    but thankfully i’m here to gently take away some of ya’ll’s car keys and help you get safely home after you apparently had too much to drink tonight. it’s my pleasure to “help the team” in this way.


    look, my inebriated friends, as fc dallas (15W-6L-8T) snares the top spot in the west from peter verme’s excellent skc side, the iconic pareja analagously goes (near) the top of ernie stewart’s list of excellent candidates for usmnt coach. as jeff weisinger mentioned, the columbia-born pareja is not american, but he does speak english:

    “The head coach is a native of Colombia but came to MLS and learned English as his second language like many of his players are now.”
    How FC Dallas became one of MLS’ most bilingual teams

    which, my high-alcohol-to-blood-ratio friends, is important. remember, the new usmnt coach will live in chicago and share office space (intimately & daily) with ernie stewart and the rest of the us soccer front office staff. if will be a total “team effort” in the office, and that’s why speaking english is not just “good to have” it’s a new requirement.

    to be continued in the next post…

    • another quality we seek for our ideal usmnt coach is somone who demonstrates understanding of usa soccer culture. i think pareja has demonstrated this quality at fc dallas.

      “There really are a lot of cultures, but we’re soccer players and have to adapt to that,” Lamah said (in Spanish). “I think whether it’s a Latino or an African like me, we have similarities in our cultures so there aren’t issues. We don’t have any issue, we play together, we joke around, enjoy each other’s company. I think it’s a good time and good atmosphere.”

      It all starts with Oscar Pareja. The head coach is a native of Colombia but came to MLS and learned English as his second language like many of his players are now.

      Listen to Pareja during a training session and you’ll hear instructions given in English first, then Spanish with Pareja selecting the best language for each player if he needs to give out a specific instruction or provide a word of encouragement.

      “Oscar does an incredible job with balance, going back and forth, making sure the direction is very clear, making sure everyone understands,” said goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer, who won an informal straw poll of players as the native English speaker whose Spanish is best. “It’s been great.”

      How FC Dallas became one of MLS’ most bilingual teams

    • my two cents: ernie’s top three candidates for usmnt coach so far have to be 1) berhalter 2) marsch and 3) pareja. will someone under the influence of alcohol please now make a comment that involves mention of europe, a continent that has no connection to the conversation at hand.

    • shawn’s comment is the best one so far. question: berhalter, marsch, peralta: who has the best playing style? that is the most relevant talking point so far, imo.

      • playing style is very important. if the food doesn’t taste good, then who wants to dine in that particular restaurant? the food tasting good is really at the heart of what it’s all about, yes?

  4. One of the stupidest rules USSF has about its coaching selection is that they have to speak English. This cuts out most of the good Latin American coaches. It’s unfortunate that the USSF is obsessed with their coach also being a media darling as it’s not necessary for the coach to speak the language to be successful.

  5. Who will hire the Olympic coach? Earnie? Could this be a case of him officially interviewing for the USMNT job, but really being felt out for a different position? (i.e. Olympic coach) Of course, maybe he wouldn’t want that.

    • I’d be surprised if an MLS coach would be willing (or allowed) to do this kind of temp work on the side during the season. But he would seem to be well-suited if it ever came up.

  6. At least somebody who understand Football/soccer and knows how to play it and not some ” patadura” like Porter and company. I will say : Pareja or Martino..

  7. Not too excited about this one. He’s had success at MLS level, although not that much since he has never won the Cup. But this is all his head coaching experience: 5 years in MLS and thats it. He has shown to do well developing younger players and bringing in unknown talent, but that is NOT really the job of the NATs coach. They develop talent unless you are Klinsman and willing to select a Stanford amateur and actively lobby European coaches to take on American players). Their job is to pick the best players and choose the right tactics to win. Pareja would be a disappointing selection, but I’d love to be surprised if it turns out well.

    • Guess what anyone that has won anything is not coming here. People are delusional if they think they will. The US doesn’t pay that much compared to other major nations, and yes for the US the next generation is promising but is not nearly as promising as in other major countries. We were knocked out in the quarters in the U17 and U20, our young talent is not enough to attract an established winner.

      • JR: what information do you have about international coach salaries? Because I would tend to think that USSoccer would pay on the higher end of the spectrum, but I’m just guessing.

      • Yeah money probably will not be the issue. Issue is 90% of the “sexy” candidates in the world wouldn’t dream of interrupting their careers to take an National Team coaching job in North America (i.e. the soccer wilderness), no matter what the salary. It’s a bad career move, simply put. Really, there are only three situations I can think of where an experienced manager of high pedigree in Europe would coach an NT here (1) his name is poisonous in Europe and he can’t find club work (Moyes, Allardyce, and of course who can forget “Sven Goren Eriksson does Mexico”), (2) He is old and wants a cushy, half-time job with a credible pay day in a first world country (remember “Sven Goren Eriksson does Mexico”?), or (3) He already lives here (Klinsmann), and does not especially care about returning to Europe. So we try to find a diamond in one of these three unappealing categories, or we can hire local. Don’t look so excited!

      • JK was exactly 10th in 2014. That’s not enough for someone who has won something to turn down a team with a chance at the semis or higher to draw them in for team with an outside shot at the quarters even if everyone improves and no one gets hurt.

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