MLS commissioner Don Garber mentioned one particular point of pride during yesterday’s draft: how many current MLS managers once played in the league.
Remember, MLS is still just 18 years old. That’s not a little toddler of a league anymore, but it’s still an impressionable whippersnapper compared to the better established sports.
So it does say something about association stability and the drive to create the best league possible when we are into double digits with the number of coaches who have come through MLS as players.
It doesn’t mean they will be better tacticians or that they can re-invent the coaching wheel. Rather, equipped with an understanding of Major League Soccer’s unique challenges, they can better manage the operation, deal with issues and more smoothly handle the personnel machinations.
For the record, the 10 who have played in MLS and now sit atop the managerial hill are: Caleb Porter, Jay Heaps, Ben Olsen, Oscar Pareja, Jason Kreis, Frank Klopas, Peter Vermes, Frank Yallop, Dominic Kinnear and Robert Warzycha.
(Update: Make that 11 … forgot about Ryan Nelsen, who has been hired but has not yet begun at Toronto FC. And thanks to the commenter CRNelson10 for that one.)