Multiple coaching posts remain open around MLS and the rumor mill has linked more than a few odd names with the vacancies. Kyle McCarthy discusses the peculiarities and suggests that the far-flung names indicate that clubs aren't content with the standard options this offseason.By Kyle McCarthy
Out with the old, in with the different. That's the approach those coach-seeking clubs around MLS are apparently weighing these days if recent headlines are a reliable indicator.
Sure, the familiar names – expected and qualified candidates like former Kansas City coach Curt Onalfo and New York interim boss Richie Williams along with recently freed coaches like Denis Hamlett and Tom Soehn – are still generating plenty of buzz. It's tough to step away from the known and, at least in some cases, there isn't much reason to overlook the obvious candidate for a novel choice.
That hasn't stopped the rumor mill from churning out a few peculiar tidbits recently. New York following up the hire of IK Start executive Erik Soler as sporting director by perhaps adding a second foreign influence in former Norwegian national team boss Age Hareide or former Portsmouth manager Tony Adams, according to Soccer by Ives. D.C. discussing the merits of a college or foreign coach to replace Soehn rather than opting for either Onalfo or Williams, according to The Washington Post. Chicago pondering a move for an inexperienced and pliant coach such as Chris Armas or Jesse Marsch after Hamlett's departure, according to just about everyone. Steve Sampson even entered the conversation as a serious contender in Chivas USA's coaching search, for crying out loud.
Rumors are rumors and they'll float just about everywhere before the truth finally reveals itself. Hareide, for instance, joined Norwegian club Viking, which rules him out with the Red Bulls for at least a couple of days. As these things tend to go, some rumors will turn into truth while others will fade from view without further comment.
Even the most scurrilous scuttlebutt hides a kernel of truth within. In this instance, the nugget probably lies in the discontent with the same old, same old on the coaching front. Without a sure-fire option left on the market after Preki decamped to Toronto, the market simply doesn't bear names that jump off the page as must-hires. All have perceived and actual flaws and all have something to prove. No candidate ensures playoff success, not even the taskmaster recently hired north of the border who has yet to taste a playoff series victory.
As the coaching vacancies fill over the next couple of weeks, the question prompted by the recent whispers – will teams opt for the new and different instead of the tried and true? – will inevitably find its answer. Considering the peculiarities of managing in MLS and the difficulty outsiders often face in adjusting to the league, don't count out those familiar faces just yet.
Around the League
- One club has decided to hop off the rumor mill. Chivas USA has scheduled a press conference for this afternoon to name its new coach. Several reports have indicated that former Red-and-White and Bayern Munich assistant Martin Vasquez will pip former United States and Los Angeles coach Sampson – who, despite his checkered history, would have made plenty of sense for Chivas considering his roots and his experience in southern California and Latin America – to the gig. The looming question as Vasquez takes the helm: how much of a learning curve will Vasquez face after spending a couple of years away from MLS?
- New England defender Jay Heaps will announce his retirement at a press conference this afternoon at Gillette Stadium.
- The Toronto Argonauts are in the early stages of discussing a potential move to BMO Field. If the preliminary discussions bear fruit and the Argos overcome the stiff opposition sure to form against the switch, it would be a cruel fate indeed for TFC after finally securing a natural grass surface. Suffice it to say that the grass wouldn't be nearly as pristine with football players tromping all over it for a large part of the MLS season.
- In better news for TFC fans, the Reds are planning to add another 1,249 seats for next season at a cost of $2 million (Canadian).
Kyle McCarthy writes the Monday MLS Breakdown and frequently writes opinion pieces during the week for Goal.com. He also covers the New England Revolution for the Boston Herald and MLSnet.com. Contact him with your questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter by clicking here.
For more on Major League Soccer, visit Goal.com's MLS page.