Vermes? Donovan? Who should replace Bruce Arena as USMNT manager? Five early names

By, Kyle Gibson

I once said if U.S. Soccer ever built a national stadium like England’s famed Wembley, they should call it Bruce Arena.

Now, that name will probably never happen after Arena presided over the biggest failure in USMNT history and resigned Friday. 

Before anyone even finished reading Brucie’s words in his published statement, many were asking who his replacement would be (myself included).

Here are five potential managers the US should take a look at. Three coach in the U.S. One coaches in the Premier League, but is familiar with the USMNT and the other is a dark horse that might not ever happen, but we’re all just having fun, right?

Peter Vermes, Sporting Kansas City

Peter isn’t a sexy pick, but he is consistently one of the best coaches in MLS and has established a signature playing style in KC. Every time I hear him talk soccer, I am blown away by his knowledge.

Knocks against Vermes might be that he has only won one MLS Cup in his tenure. However, Vermes has lifted three US Open Cups with Sporting, which may help out his case, since World Cups are played in a tournament fashion. (Still yet, the US did just miss the World Cup by failing in a group-stage type of atmosphere. Just trying to be fair.)

Also, fans may not want another product of MLS after Arena, just like there was some sentiment against another fancy-pants foreigner when Jurgen Klinsmann left.

Tata Martino, Atlanta United

Martino was suggested on Twitter and makes sense. He has Atlanta playing electric soccer in its first season and has huge international experience as the former manager of Argentina and FC Barcelona.

Martino, Messi and Co. failed to win two straight Copa Americas in 2015 and 2016, however, after being rim-stuffed by God and Chile twice in a row. At Barcelona, Martino committed the cardinal sin of not winning a single trophy in his only season. Even though he failed to win the ultimate prize in these two jobs, I think he is still a very good manager.

Keep in mind, foreign managers typically descend into madness in MLS with its insane rules and long-haul flights. Martino has kept his head so far, which says a lot.

Caleb Porter, Portland Timbers

OK, I included Porter because I had seen his name thrown around. He certainly brings an attractive style to the table, but I do not think he should be the U.S. manager.

I think his Portland teams have underachieved besides his MLS Cup victory in 2015 and he was the manager for one of the US-U23 teams that missed the Olympics and cost the team development.

Porter is a good MLS coach. I just don’t think he deserves a chance with the national team yet.

David Wagner, Huddersfield Town

This one makes a little less sense, but for Wagner, not the U.S. The German, former U.S. player (eight appearances) finally has Huddersfield Town in the Premier League and the Terriors are hanging tough in 11th place with scrappy, no nonsense soccer and brief moments of real skill.

Why would Wagner leave the rarefied air of the Premier League to take charge of a side missing the World Cup? I just don’t think he does. Maybe in a few years, if the job looks a bit more interesting, he might consider.

Landon Donovan, Chilling/Broadcasting

This is that dark horse I was talking about earlier. Donovan is the greatest player in U.S. history and knows a lot about qualifying for World Cups. He scored 12 in qualifiers and another five at World Cups. As a kid, I remember watching Donovan and seeing how fearlessly he seemed to line up in those road qualifiers in terrible conditions.

Still, Donovan has no coaching experience. That alone should probably disqualify him. But, just hear me out, if Donovan was named manager soon and given friendlies and a solid, experienced staff, could he grow into the job in time to start the next qualifying campaign? I might have just talked myself into this one.

Who do you think the U.S. should hire? Keep tweeting me your names, or mention them in the comments.


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