Every time an MLS coaching post opens up, I have the same thought: “Wonder if longtime assistant Richie Williams will get his shot?”
Philadelphia and Peter Nowak went splitsville earlier today; the Union has named John Hackworth as interim assistant.
Williams is a former assistant at New York and D.C. United. He’s the current U.S. under-17 national team coach, and for all I know, he’s happy as a beer on ice and carries not an ounce of interest in the job at PPL Park. But …
If he is interested, they should bust a move and get interested in him.
Hopefully the suits in corner offices understand this hard reality about coaching in Major League Soccer: it may be sexier to go get an accent, a man with hifalutin experience in fancy leagues overseas. But generally speaking, men with MLS experience have a far greater chance of success.
(As for why that is … that’s a longer discussion; let’s stay focused here.)
About for Williams specifically: things seemed to go OK both times he took over as interim manager at New York. He knows the league’s ins and outs, and he knows about the U.S. youth player pool.
I’ve only talked to Williams twice (that I can recall); he always struck me as someone who had his stuff buttoned up, who knew what he was doing. He’s a straight talker; perhaps that puts some people off. Otherwise, I couldn’t say why he’s popped up on some candidate short lists but never sealed the deal.
By the way, if Philadelphia thinks it needs someone with head coaching experience, they aren’t paying attention. Because young and inexperienced, but with MLS playing or coaching experience, is all the rage.
I count 12 of 19 MLS coaches whose current post is their first professional head coaching job.