FC Dallas announced on Sunday that 38-year-old Luchi Gonzalez, the second-youngest head coach in MLS, has been chosen to replace the recently departed Oscar Pareja as head coach.
[ MORE: Report: Chrstiain Pulisic agrees Premier League transfer ]
Gonzalez, who was seen as the favorite to succeed Pareja since the day the job came open, has been director of the FCD academy, and head coach of the program’s hugely successful U-16 team, for the last three years. Prior to that, he served as a coach on the academy’s U-18 staff.
Pareja recently resigned from his post at FCD as he sought a new challenge. He was named the new boss at Liga MX side Club Tijuana last month.
Given Gonzalez’s appointment, and his intimate knowledge of an academy system bursting at the seams with elite prospects — not to mention the payroll which FCD has managed to shed already this offseason — it seems likely that the 2019 team skew extremely young. While Pareja was always painted as a champion of academy products, an uncomfortably large number of graduates were unable to establish themselves as members of the first team during his tenure.
Yahoo Sports’ Doug McIntyre has added a second name to the list of people interviewed for the USMNT opening.
McIntyre reports that Oscar Pareja had an in-person interview with U.S. Soccer general manager Earnie Stewart, joining presumed favorite Gregg Berhalter in a fairly exclusive group of four.
[ MORE: Fabian to MLS? ]
The post, which also says Berhalter has a lot of leverage in negotiations thanks to interest in LA and his current home of Columbus, has this to offer:
I’m hearing that Berhalter and Pareja were among four finalists identified by Stewart. I don’t know the identity of the others, at least not yet, but am told that the list included at least one international candidate from outside MLS.
So it’s going to end up being Berhalter, Pareja, David Moyes, and Tab Ramos, right?
Again, this process stinks, but it would be very wrong of USMNT supporters to grade Berhalter as anything other than a strong candidate. He’s succeeded with low resources, and respects the overseas standard of the game.
McIntyre also says Ramos is a prime candidate to take over for Pareja in FC Dallas, raising the question of whether the U.S. U-20 coach would be granted leave for the U-20 World Cup during Dallas’ season. It would be nice to see, but a lot of pro clubs wouldn’t risk showing their sides as anything but the only thing that matters to a coach. That said, the team could hold its pre-tournament in Dallas, and is likely to have at least two FCD youths (Brandon Servania, Paxton Pomykal) on the roster.
Pareja spent all but four of the past 20 years in Dallas, but left for Club Tijuana this month.
After nearly two decades of service to the club (in a variety of roles, from player to head coach), Oscar Pareja has officially left his post as FC Dallas’ leading man.
[ PREVIEW: USMNT face Italy in 2018 finale | Should Pulisic move to PL? ]
The club confirmed Pareja’s departure on Monday, just days after it was reported that Pareja would be named the next manager at Liga MX side Club Tijuana, that FCD and Pareja “have mutually agreed to part ways.”
Pareja had the following to say in the club’s official release:
“This was a difficult decision for me and my family. FC Dallas has been our home for many years, but we felt it would be best for us to seek a different challenge which enables me to keep growing as a coach. This club and its players are heading on the right path and I have no doubt they will get there. I would like to thank the Hunt family, Clark and Dan, for their support throughout my time here. The memories I have made with this club will stay with me and my family for a lifetime.”
Pareja was once thought to be one of a handful of candidates for the still-vacant U.S. men’s national team job, but Columbus Crew SC head coach Gregg Berhalter is expected to be begin his tenure any
minute hour day week month now.
One way or another, Oscar Pareja is leaving MLS this winter, swapping FC Dallas for Liga MX side Club Tijuana, according to a report from Goal.com.
[ MORE: Stunner leads U.S. U-20 team to World Cup berth ]
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.
[ MORE: Who is in the USMNT’s Best XI right now? ]
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.
Earnie Stewart said earlier this month that he intends to hire the next U.S. men’s national team head coach by the end of the 2018 calendar year, which means the USMNT general manager needs to get a move on.
[ MORE: USMNT, Schalke MF McKennie injures leg in loss to Bayern ]
According to a report from the Dallas Morning News, the interview process is underway after FC Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja was interviewed by U.S. Soccer representatives — the report doesn’t list Stewart specifically — while in Vancouver ahead of the Hoops’ MLS game against Vancouver Whitecaps.
Pareja is someone who has been rumored and coveted as a long-term candidate for USMNT boss, largely due to his preference for, and history of, working with and playing young talent with the first team.
[ MORE: Walker Zimmerman has interest from Premier League, Europe ]
FC Dallas released the following statement following Monday’s report:
“The entire FC Dallas organization, including Oscar Pareja and his coaching staff, is solely focused on finishing the MLS regular season strong and putting us in the best position possible for a long playoff run.”