Monday Morning Poll Question: A European Head Coach?

When the Fire decided not to renew the contract of former Head Coach Denis Hamlett last week, thoughts immediately went to where exactly the Fire would get their next head man.

The possibilities seemed to be pretty numerous, with several high profile MLS assistants and former/current head coaches coming to mind right off the bat. Tom Soehn, Richie Williams, Curt Onalfo and Martin Vasquez were some of the more experienced names being thrown around with Chris Armas's and Jesse Marsch's (even though he's still under contract as a player at Chivas USA...) names getting tossed into the rumor ring as potential dark horse candidates.

But after analyzing the situation a little further, it looked as if all of the candidates mentioned above were lacking a certain something. The men who were rumored to be possible candidates for selection either failed in their latest MLS gig (Soehn, Onalfo), have no head coaching experience (Vasquez, Armas, Marsch), or are likely to take over at another club (Williams, that is if Red Bull wises up and offers him the job...).

But -- outside of the aforementioned names -- where else can the Fire turn to find their next head coach?

In a word, Europe.
It's pretty well known that Fire Technical Director Frank Klopas has good connections across the Atlantic (he did play in Greece for 6 years) and I honestly would not be that surprised if the Fire elected to hire a European to take charge at Toyota Park.

Now, with the hiring of a European coach comes the inevitable concerns that he will not do well adjusting to the style of play in MLS and that he'll struggle to work the league's unique methods of player acquisition. And while those are legitimate concerns, I think that if the Technical Director can lead the way on the player acquisition front, hiring a coach with experience in only the European game wouldn't be a problem.

Granted, some European coaches in MLS have been massive failures (here's looking at you Ruud Gullit...) but any coach that isn't a complete buffoon should be able to adjust to MLS's style of play without having too many problems.

I think that as long as the Fire do a thorough job of interviewing all possible candidates (i.e. making sure they will be able to adapt to the intricacies of the league) that hiring a European candidate wouldn't be a mistake -- and could very well be a good thing for the club.

After all, we know what the MLS based candidates have to offer and -- honestly -- it doesn't really excite me. Because of that (and the fact that I believe that the right man -- no matter where he is from -- can adjust to MLS's style of play) I think that the Fire would be well served to go abroad in their search for a new head coach.

And with all of that said, I'll leave you with a poll question and let you have your say. Take it away...


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  • We need someone with a creative mind. Someone that can play attractive football. Hiring Chris Armas would be a bigger mistake than hiring Hamlett 2 years ago. We need to go in a new direction and that is with a foreign coach. South or Central America, Europe, wherever but not Armas and absolutely not Marsch. The first question Klopas should ask is "What is your ideal formation?" If they say 4-5-1, show him the door.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    Well said sam, I completely agree, the list of replacement coaches from MLS is a scary list. If we took anyone from that list, I don't feel like a new direction would be achieved. Therefore going abroad is a great idea and should definitley be pursued.

    Joe is completely right, we need a solid 4-4-2, with an attacking midfielder. No more of this 2 d-mids crap.
    Even a 4-3-1-2 would fit the Fire well. Or even tap into my favorite formation, the 4-3-3.

    Overall, a new direction means new direction. Armas is not a new direction. Go abroad.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    If they're going to look outside of MLS I would rather they cast their gaze south (Mexico, Central America, South America) than east.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    What's the word on Juergen Klinsmann since he left Bayern Munich last year? Anyone know if he wants to return to the US?

  • In reply to patrickgeiger:

    Klinsmann has indicated he'd love to coach Liverpool.

    I agree with NaperSteve. If the Fire have any intentions of luring Blanco back after the WC, he will be consulted on the coaching decision. His former coach at Club America, Manual Lapuente, the guy who one the Mexican league title with 3 different clubs, is looking to return to coaching.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    Europe is the choice. We need a clever, unbiased coach who will start the best players and make very good decisions. I trust Klopas to make the best decisions, as he's been doing great so far.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    What about Thomas Rongen? He hasn't screwed up an MLS club in a few years while he's spent time ruining our youth nats.

    Klinnsmann would be a dream but it'll never happen. It might sound bizarre, but I think John Harkes would produce a winner. It would be scrappy but I think it would work. Plus, he's a prima donna so he'd probably be accessible to the media.

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    So, picture the interview. Um, how do you resolve conflict with a player? When a player is naturally strong at a position, how do you balance giving them minutes in that position and what might be best for the team? How do you decide when to sub?

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    What about circling back to talk with John Spencer?

    I think hiring a Euro coach is a mistake. Maybe go Mexican or Central American, those coaches have something to prove, a Euro coach will likely feel like he has something to teach the rest of us. Yes, those are generalities, but tell me based on MLS experience if that's wrong.

    Nowak would've been a perfect hire. What are the rules on trying to lure a coach under contract?:)

  • In reply to Rubberbandman189:

    For what it's worth, I didn't think Onalfo got a fair shake in KC. He'd be the best choice of the current MLS re-treads.

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