Pareja was thought to be on the short list of candidates up for consideration to become the next U.S. men’s national team head coach — if you believe such a list ever existed — but that post is now widely expected to be handed to Columbus Crew SC head coach Gregg Berhalter in the coming hours, days or weeks.
Therefore, Pareja’s taking the next great opportunity to make a step up in competition and exposure after a combined 18 years with FCD — 10 as an academy director, assistant coach and head coach, and eight as a player. The fact that Pareja — born in Medellin, Colombia, but has lived in the United States for two decades — is fluent in both Spanish and English surely played an important part in the hiring process for Tijuana, who more so than any other Mexican club has prioritized growing its footprint among English speakers in the U.S.
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Pareja will reportedly take much of his first-team coaching staff with him.
Moving from MLS to any of Liga MX’s top-half teams is very clearly a considerable step up for a coach — or player, for that matter. If it’s a new, bigger challenge he’s looking for — and he’s deserving of one — Pareja will get just that at Xolos.