Imagine being the owner or general manager of a sports team. You just finished a season that just wasn’t good enough, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get better any time soon. So you decide it’s time for the head coach to go. You let fire up a press conference, make the announcement, answer some questions, and then begin looking for the man that can take your collective group of players and turn them into champions.
Just as a guess, I’d figure you want this whole situation to get over pretty quick. The coach leads the team on the field, making an infinite number of decisions that can swing the new season one way or another. You can’t have a team without a coach, plain and simple. And not just any coach, he has to be the best coach. You don’t want some guy to come in and bark orders or to sit back and let the multi-million dollar striker call the shots, you want a coach that can lead and knows how to handle the egos running around on the field. The decision you make will be the most important factor in the course of your franchise — not to mention your job or your money — for the next few years.
But let’s apply all that to what’s happening with the Vancouver Whitecaps, Montreal Impact, and FC Dallas in this MLS offseason. They’re all searching for a new coach, yet it’s been nearly two months since the end of the season and they’re just now finding coaches for the job.
I’m not saying that this is an easy job, or that it should have been done as soon as the last game was lost. What I’m trying to convey is that these teams are having a hard time and they’re losing precious time with a new coach. Using the hypothetical situation as an example, this coaching search must not be going well at all.
According to a report from ESPNFC’s Jeff Carlisle, the Vancouver Whitecaps have finally found their man in assistant coach Carl Robinson. The 37-year-old has spent the last two years under former coach Martin Rennie, whose reign ended after this previous season.
There have been stories popping up all over the place tracking Vancouver’s attempts at bringing former U.S. national team coach Bob Bradley into the Western Canadian city, but it was reported last week that Bradley decided not to accept the offer.
Vancouver spent valuable time investing in Bradley, but afterwards they were no further along. During that time they lost out on potential coaching candidate Frank Yallop, who’s settled in with Chicago Fire. The Whitecaps missed time with a new head coach that could’ve and should’ve been around during the recent Re-Entry Draft, and any other possible roster moves.
According to the same report as mentioned before, the Montreal Impact are in talks with former Chicago Fire manager Frank Klopas in order to replace still-contracted manager Marco Schallibaum. This has to be even more detrimental to your offseason. Wasting time with one coach, while getting ready to flip everything with the entry of a new coach has to stall and confuse any progress that is/was being made. It seems like the early part of this preseason is all a great sacrifice to some magical year that’s one man away from happening.
FC Dallas is also looking for that one special dude, seemingly getting close to reaching a deal with Seatlle assistant coach Brian Schmetzer or current Lanus (Argentina Primera Division) manager Guillermo Barros Schelotto.
The loss of time spent without a head coach has to make some impact on the team. The decision made at this time aren’t necessarily earth-shakers, but they can factor into the depth and overall skill of a team that has to last until next October. With the MLS Super Draft and transfer window coming up in January, it would be a very good time to get some of these vacancies close.
(I’ve never been in the situation of owning a sports franchise, or making this kind of decision, so don’t make me the expert. I wish the best of luck to any person that is finding a coach, and also to the men they find to take the job.)