In a damning statement about the state of the United States Men’s National Soccer team, former star Landon Donovan stated that he “was disturbed by the lack of urgency” in their defeat to Trinidad and Tobago that saw the US fail to qualify for a World Cup for the first time since 1986.
The 2-1 defeat away to the Caribbean islanders was even worse for the Americans because their opponents had nothing to play for. They just didn’t do enough and it is easy to cite this game as the only reason for the failure to qualify but they also lost home and away to Costa Rica and failed to beat Panama and Honduras on the road.
After the loss to Trinidad, national team coach Bruce Arena resigned. The next appointment will be important for the US as there is a talented crop of younger players available and the next man to lead this team will be charged with bringing these young players into the national team and making them a big part of its success going forward. It is not yet clear who will be given the role and no one would be expecting them to win a World Cup – even Mexico, the winners of their qualifying group are in terms of football tips, only given odds of 70/1 to win in Russia – but not qualifying has put confidence in the team at rock bottom. So here are a few candidates that could possibly be in contention.
The Croatian coach has only just left English Premier League side West Ham United but he has a wealth of experience at international level and led a very talented Croatian side into Euro 2008. He also was given huge praise for the way he brought through young and talented players such as Eduardo, Vedran Corluka and Luka Modric. His lack of experience in the US may hinder his application but a very decent candidate.
The Head Coach of Columbus Crew would be a good appointment. He knows US soccer inside out having had a successful playing career both at home and abroad, the only question is whether he has done enough with both Hammarby and Crew to be considered experienced enough for the role
Tab Ramos would be the sensible choice being the current U-20s coach. He knows the young talent that is coming through and helped develop talented players like Yedlin, Arriola, Miazga and Pulisic. He made 81 appearances for the national team featuring in three World Cups as a player but for some he may not be the man to bring something new to the table
Huddersfield Town FC of the English Premier League would not want to lose their German hero but Wagner would be a great coach for the US. He is excellent tactically and can motivate his player who clearly all love playing for him. The only doubt is whether he would want to leave the Yorkshire club when he has such a good thing going for him in England.
Pareja would offer something different to the role and is doing an excellent job with FC Dallas. He has an eye for young talent and has not relied on money to improve his current team that just missed out on the Western Conference playoff spots this season. He has won both the Supporters Shield and the US Open Cup in his time with Dallas but he may want to stay and try for the MLS Cup before he considers moving on.