The Colorado Rapids are drawing closer to landing their long-term head coaching option and sources tell Goal they are closing in on an American-born option, but not one who has coached in the United States in a while.
The Rapids are close to hiring current New Zealand manager Anthony Hudson to be the team's new head coach, multiple sources have confirmed.
It remains unclear when Hudson would take over as Rapids coach, or if his appointment is contingent on New Zealand missing out on the World Cup.
The development comes as New Zealand is preparing to play in a World Cup playoff against Peru, with the first leg scheduled for Nov. 11 in Wellington, New Zealand, and second leg slated for Nov. 15 in Lima, Peru.
The 36-year-old Hudson is very much a vagabond coach. The son of one-time NASL Seattle Sounders captain and Chelsea standout Alan Hudson, Anthony was born in Seattle, but was raised in England. After a modest pro playing career that consisted of a brief failed stint in the Netherlands before a short time with American lower-division side Wilmington Hammerheads, Hudson embarked on a coaching career that began in 2008 with then USL-2 side Real Maryland, a team he led to a fifth-place finish in a nine-team league in 2009 before a last-place finish in 2010 in his final season there. Real Maryland halted operations two years later.
After spending time working under Harry Redknapp at Tottenham, Hudson eventually found his way into international management, first as a Bahrain U-23 national team coach before taking over as senior team coach. His tenure as Bahrain's manager lasted close to a full calendar year before he stepped down in July of 2014. He was named New Zealand coach less than a month later, and has coached the Kiwis for the past three years.
Hudson's New Zealand played in the 2016 Confederations Cup, losing all three group matches, but turning in admirable performances in a 2-0 loss to Russia and most memorably a 2-1 loss to Mexico that saw the Kiwis leading at halftime.
Now, Hudson's New Zealand is heading into a World Cup playoff against Peru as an 11/2 underdog to advance, extremely long odds which might explain why Hudson is preparing his next career move.
Sources tell Goal that the Rapids plan to keep the same technical staff in place, including former interim coach Steve Cooke and assistant Conor Casey, with Hudson expected to step in to try and help the Rapids recover after a terrible 2017 campaign that saw the team collapse after having enjoyed an outstanding 2016 season.
"We know who we want, and I'm very happy to say that we're in the final stages," Rapids sporting director Padraig Smith said of the team's coaching search in a recent radio interview. Smith also confirmed the Rapids wouldn't be retaining Cooke as head coach, but that he would remain on the coaching staff.
Smith may have tipped his hand on the hire when he mentioned having searched in, among other places, Oceania, for a new coach.
"We wanted to be true to our commitment to make this a global search," Smith told Altitude 950 in Colorado. "So we went out to Europe, we went to South America, Oceania. We really conducted a very thorough search to make sure we got the right person."
Sources tell Goal that the Rapids also considered American candidates as well, including U.S. Under-17 coach John Hackworth, Columbus Crew assistant Josh Woff and Stanford University coach Jeremy Gunn.