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Top five MLS coaching candidates (plus one apparently already off the “available list”)

Oct 29, 2013, 10:05 PM EDT

Often under-appreciated in MLS and with the USMNT, is now the right time for Bradley to make a heroic return to the USA? Often under-appreciated in MLS and with the USMNT, is now the right time for Bradley to make a heroic return to the USA?

The urge to hire coaches with an accent (foreign dudes, that is) will simply be too irresistible for some Major League Soccer owner or GM. Managers from lands afar with no MLS experience may work in MLS, or they may not; there are examples on either side of that argument.

But there are plenty of good choices from the good ol’ USA, men with ample knowledge of the MLS quirkiness, the measurable tax of summer heat and travel, salary cap restrictions, the personnel acquisition peculiarities, etc.

(MORE: Updated list of MLS coaching dismissals)

(MORE: Why Martin Rennie failed at Vancouver)

Here are the top five North American coaching candidates (in alphabetical order), plus one bonus choice, who may already have been picked off the shelf:

Bob Bradley: It seems pretty unlikely the former U.S. national team boss will remain with Egypt once the Pharaohs are eliminated from World Cup contention (as they almost certainly will be upon the return leg against Ghana). Bradley (pictured) would love to remain at the international level. But he’s a soccer man through and through, and if he doesn’t get an offer quickly, the MLS suitors would be silly not to line up. Columbus is certainly eager to get in line.

Robin Fraser: Pay no attention to that dark spot on his resume, a.k.a. the Chivas USA period; that place is just this side of hopeless. (Although for Chivas USA fans, I certainly do hope things improve.) Everyone respects Fraser; he’ll get another shot at some point. (Probably at Real Salt Lake if Jason Kreis grabs the chance to become New York City FC’s first manager.)

Jesse Marsch: The longtime MLS midfield fixture did good things in 2012 with expansion Montreal. A Bradley protégé, he’s going to be a good manager somewhere – it just looks like Montreal wasn’t the right fit. Maybe he’ll be a better fit at Chicago if the Fire decides that Frank Klopas isn’t the right guy for the bench at Toyota Park.

Tab Ramos: As I wrote about before, he looks to me a lot like the next Caleb Porter. And who wouldn’t want the next MLS Coach of the Year – since Porter seems likely to be handed that honor in December? Ramos isn’t just a student of the game, he’s a student of teaching the game. In working with young players, you could do a whole lot worse than the thoughtful, former U.S. midfield standout.  

Eric Wynalda: I spoke to Wynalda recently in Kansas City, prior to a U.S. national team practice. He likes his TV gig. It works for him now – but I got the feeling he would listen to the right MLS offer. It has to be a good fit; the former American international is outspoken, and it’s going to take a bit of a maverick owner, someone who understands Wynalda isn’t a group-think guy and doesn’t always care about diplomacy. But he is a sharp guy, and he’ll get a lot out of his players.

(Bonus candidate: Frank Yallop. Thing is, he already seems to be off the shelf. Reports are coming out of Canada that he’s already in line to replace Martin Rennie at Vancouver. If not … then add him to this list. Everyone loves playing for him, and he remains well respected.)

(MORE: The MLS coaching carousel is about to get crazy)

(MORE: With coaching vacancies ahead, there should be a race for Tab Ramos)

  1. hildezero - Oct 30, 2013 at 12:50 AM

    GBS should also be in the conversation.

    • danielofthedale - Oct 30, 2013 at 1:38 AM

      He clearly said North American coaches and GBS is South American. Would be a very interesting hire for any team but does not fit what this article was about.

    • mikeevergreen - Oct 30, 2013 at 1:41 PM

      I think GBS may be spoken for – Bradley won’t be going to Firehouse East. GBS to the Crew he made champs as a player.

  2. mvktr2 - Oct 30, 2013 at 1:35 AM

    Ramos as ‘youth teacher’ seems a good fit in Philly. Of course the current coach is known for his background teaching young players so there’s that.

    • bear06 - Oct 30, 2013 at 3:07 AM

      Dallas looks like a better fit for Ramos than Philly.

      • mikeevergreen - Oct 30, 2013 at 1:42 PM

        You give Ramos guns the likes of Blas Perez and Kenny Cooper and you have one hell of a turnaround happening.

      • braxtonrob - Nov 1, 2013 at 2:37 AM

        I would LOVE to see Ramos come to Dallas.

  3. danielofthedale - Oct 30, 2013 at 1:40 AM

    I am hoping MLS teams keep over looking Wynalda and he can become the manager of the Atlanta team if we get one. He knows the market and is one of the few people that would have the big personality that would demand media attention from the get go. Plus I think he has pretty good soccer mind.

  4. ndnut - Oct 30, 2013 at 8:08 AM

    If the Sounders lose the wild card game, I bet Sigi is gone. Wynalda in Seattle would be very interesting.

    • mlsconvert88888 - Oct 30, 2013 at 1:17 PM

      If Wynalda goes to Seattle, he’d already have a leg up in the Cascadia rivalry. He was the coach of the 5th division amateur side that bounced the Timbers from last year’s USOC.

  5. talgrath - Oct 30, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    I’m not so sure Bradley is out of the job yet. Egypt has had one of its best World Cup campaigns in recent history, winning everything in the group stage of qualifying, they just happened to draw Ghana, the best team in the region, for the qualifying playoffs. Bradley did this while all the upheavals were going on in Egypt, I think he will probably keep his job.

  6. hildezero - Oct 30, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    @danielofthedale,

    Oh, my bad. Some how I missed that.

  7. chadmoon1 - Oct 30, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    I want Wynalda in Dallas! He fits here.

  8. mdac1012 - Oct 30, 2013 at 5:22 PM

    Seattle is a now team that made a big statement by bringing in Dempsey and paying him all that money. If Sigi goes and Bradley is available, I think he is the guy they go after. He has already won in MLS and he has instant respect as soon as he walks in the locker room.

    I don’t know if Bradley is looking to get a job in Europe after Egypt, but I don’t see him getting a big job in any of the big leagues. If given a choice between a chance to make big money with Seattle, with an already talented team, commited to winning or going to manage a lower league European team, to me it’s a no brainer.

    • mikeevergreen - Nov 1, 2013 at 2:22 PM

      He’s already won MLS, AND coached Dempsey and EJ.

  9. overtherepermanently - Oct 30, 2013 at 9:07 PM

    I love to see American coaches succeed, but we need more like Kreis, Porter and Heaps – guys who coach teams that play soccer. Too many American-coached teams in MLS are just too hard on the eyes, with Chicago being a perfect example.

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