So Let’s Say Hypothetically Theoretically in a Theoretical Situation You Were to Replace a Soccer Coach in a Medium-Sized City in the Great Plains

As to avoid retaliation from any men currently serving as the head coach of a professional soccer team located in a medium-sized city in the Great Plains region of the United States of America, any and all references to which specific professional soccer team in which medium-sized city in the Great Plains region of the United States of America I would theoretically in this hypothetical dream world I’m creating for the purpose of this blog post be finding a new coach for have been redacted. This is again a thing I’m thinking about for no reason and with no intent of my own and nobody currently coaching a professional soccer team located in a medium-sized city in the great plains should have any reason to believe I’m talking about replacing them or to come beat me up. All of this is good fun had on my little blog.

Probably the Most Obvious Ones:

Kerry Zavagnin (Assistant, Sporting Kansas City)


Zavagnin during his playing days for a professional team

This is in a weird way both the most and least feasible situation here. The situation that gets thrown around online, ([Current Coach] vacating the head coach role and putting himself into the Sporting Director role full-time and putting Kerry in as head coach) I’d think would be ideal but I could never see the famously stubborn [Current Coach] himself doing as much. More feasible is the situation that’s happened many times before in the cases of several successful assistants-turned-head-coaches, most recently Pablo Mastroeni in Salt Lake, Brian Schmetzer in Seattle, Jim Curtin in Philadelphia, and… well, there was another one back in 2009, wherein the coach is fired and an assistant succeeds in the interim, is more feasible, though again – The hypothetical ownership of a hypothetical [Great Plains-Based Soccer Franchise] has said they will not move on from [Current Coach].

Davy Arnaud (Assistant, Austin FC)

Screenshot (152)

Arnaud (right foreground) playing soccer professionally for a team

There is another former Wizard finding success as an assistant. Arnaud is an assistant to Josh Wolff on the Austin FC staff, joining forces with Wolff after having an unsuccessful stint as an interim manager with Houston after the dismissal of Wilmer Cabrera in 2019. Despite having played for a team in Great Plains for a decade, he’s never worked as a part of the [Great Plains-Based Soccer Franchise] organization, but I think Austin’s success this season offers a feasible model for [A Great Plains-Based Soccer Franchise] to follow, having a solid, consistent bedrock built on MLS veterans like Diego Fagundez and Brad Stuver along with the same sort of diamonds-in-the-rough talent scouted from foreign leagues that have brought [Great Plains-Based Soccer Franchises] success in the past, most obviously Sebastian Driussi.

An MLS Retread:

Luchi Gonzalez (Assistant, United States Men’s National Team)


Though his tenure in Dallas ended in disappointing fashion, there is a case for Gonzalez finding success with [A Great Plains-Based Soccer Franchise]. Gonzalez is currently an assistant with the United States Men’s National Team under Gregg Berhalter – Former Berhalter assistants have found some good success, he may have the most successful current group of former assistants coaching in MLS, with Wolff and FC Dallas’ Nico Estevez winning in the league this season, as well as Pat Onstadt making strides as a GM with Houston. 

Gonzalez’s struggles last year with Dallas can partially be attributed to the overachievement of Dallas’ academy products in a downturned global market more willing to spend on young, unproven Americans – He lost good young players like Bryan Reynolds, Dante Sealy, and Tanner Tessman earlier than expected last year – He was partially a victim of his own success. [A Hypothetical Youth Academy in a Great Plains City] has produced productive players as of recent, of course with the example of Gianluca Busio and Daniel Salloi, and this year we’re seeing Felipe Hernandez, Cam Duke, and Kayden Pierre getting more time even under Verrmes, whose reluctance to play younger players is well-noted. There is a lot of promising young talent coming from that hypothetical system and Gonzalez showed that he will, as they say, “play the kids” as an MLS coach. He might not run into the same struggles he found with Dallas in terms of so much talent leaving so early now that the global transfer market has stabilized and the ownership of [Great Plains-Based Soccer Franchise] seems to be less reluctant to spend money in comparison with Dallas, especially during Gonzalez’s tenure there.

Other MLS Assistants:

Freddy Juarez (Assistant, Seattle Sounders)


Juarez I expect will find another head coach job sometime relatively soon. Remember that he left Salt Lake under relatively abnormal conditions last year, not because he was struggling, he was succeeding in the league and had a team in position to make the playoffs, but he expected to be let go under RSL’s new ownership and instead chose to replace Gonzalo Pineda in Seattle when he took the Atlanta job. Juarez took over for Mike Petke in 2019 and brought them to a playoff spot, probably would have had there again in 2021 had he not left. He brought young homegrown talent like Aaron Herrera, Brooks Lennon, and Justen Glad into the fold during his tenure with RSL. 

Shalrie Joseph (Assistant, New England)

Shalrie KC

Joseph during his playing days playing against a blurry team in the background

Shalrie is a rising younger star in MLS coaching, having had a lengthy playing career in New England and around MLS. He has head coaching experience with the Grenada national team and has risen through the ranks at New England under Bruce Arena. One reason I’m focusing on him is his connection to Arena just looking at where the newer MLS coaches that are finding success have come from, which is to say that they’re coming from programs with recent success: Pat Noonan, who has turned FC Cincinnati into a competitor, was with 2020 Shield winner Philadelphia, Robin Fraser was hired away from Greg Vanney’s Toronto juggernaut of the late 2010s, and the previously mentioned Wolff and Estevez were with the Crew under Berhalter in the mid-2010s. Nobody’s come from the 2021 Supporters Shield winner Revolution system under Bruce Arena as of yet, but Joseph could be the first of this era. Though I’m picking from 20+ years of coaches, former Arena assistants like Bob Bradley, Curt Onalfo, and Gregg Berhalter have had significant success in MLS.

Carlos Llamosa (Assistant, Portland Timbers)

Carlos Llamosa

Llamosa (Left) during his playing days playing against a soccer team

This is a bit of a shot in the dark, but I think the Timbers are another model that [A Medium-Sized Market Team] could look to for success. The [Great Plains-Based Soccer Franchise] academy produces more MLS players than the Portland academy does, but their bread and butter of signing European and South American talent that fits within their culture and their system under Savarese reflects what [Great Plains-Based Soccer Franchise] to some extent has been able to do in the past with players like Johnny Russell, Felipe Gutierrez, and Ilie Sanchez. Llamosa has a lot of MLS experience, having played in the league for about a decade and now having served as an assistant with Portland for five years, all of Savarese’s tenure, a time during which the Timbers have punched above their weight, market size, and payroll in a way that teams [In a Medium Sized City in the Great Plains Region] typically need to.

Wild Cards:

Landon Donovan (HC, San Diego Loyal SC)


Donovan during his playing days, playing against a team

Landon’s name comes up for all of these jobs – he’s turned San Diego into a fairly successful USL Championship and he’s a beloved figure in US Soccer and MLS, but I doubt he’ll leave San Diego for [The Middle of the Country], especially when he’s got other bigger jobs, some in California, some in Mexico, that I figure he’d be more likely to go for. 

Mike Petke (Unemployed)


Okay I know, I know, I know… I wouldn’t do it… But you can’t say it wouldn’t be interesting. You cannot say that.

Jim Curtin (HC, Philadelphia Union)

Screenshot (152)

Curtin (left) during his playing days, playing against a team

I know, I know, I know. It’s unlikely. It’s very unlikely. And my pitch is basically the same as the one which surrounded Cincinnati’s efforts at luring him from the Union last year. But consider this: He’s been critical of his team’s lack of spending and the [Hypothetical Great Plains-Based Soccer Franchise] front office, with the signings of Pulido and Kinda in 2020, have shown that they are ambitious financially, or at least not as unambitious as they seemed to be in the early to mid-2010s. It’s unlikely – Really unlikely, but this is also my piece for my little blog I wrote in a fog of disappointment after a US Open Cup loss on a Thursday morning, so let’s make believe just for a little bit. And if we’re making believe:

Ted Lasso (TV Show)


Is this impossible? Yes. I have not seen the show but would you put it past Apple to make a real Ted Lasso? Make a real guy into Ted Lasso like Subway did in Community? Doesn’t even have to be Jason Sudeikis, they could just get a college coach, or maybe Peter Vermes himself, and William Shears Campbell him – fake mustache and all. The character’s from Wichita, right? That could be incredible brand synergy for MLS with the new Apple TV deal. Just think about it.

About Joe Bush

The guy behind and a lot of other things
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