Category Archives: Kicking it Soccer

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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.


NEW: Bruce Arena Resigns as U.S. Soccer Coach

Three days after leading the US Men’s National Team to its most horrific loss in modern history, Bruce Arena resigned as the team’s manager.

Arena’s resignation was announced by the US Soccer Twitter account, which had gone dark since the 2-1 (Christian Pulisic was the goal scorer) road defeat to Trinidad and Tobago that saw the team fail to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1986.

Arena, who previously guided the squad to its most impressive World Cup outing in modern history (quarterfinals in 2002) and notoriously flamed out in the 2006 group stages, took over the team in November from Jurgen Klinsmann.

Fans, ex-players and media figures have also called for the resignation of US Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati. As of Friday morning, there was no word on Gulati’s future.

New Post: Watch Bastian Schweinsteiger score on his MLS debut

By, Kyle Gibson

The Montreal Impact must not have read the scouting report on that new Chicago Fire player.

German legend and Manchester United cast-off Bastian Schweinsteiger needed just 16 minutes to open his MLS account, scoring a header on his home and league debut.

Schweinsteiger almost added a second goal late as well, but the Fire went on to win the match 2-1 anyway.

The silent treatment and shunning Jose Mourinho gave Schweinsteiger at Old Trafford this season was confusing, especially because the midfielder looked good in the handful of appearances he made. He never outwardly lost his class though, posting a heartfelt goodbye video.

Schweinsteiger was one of the best of his generation and in German history. Hopefully this is the start of a fun and successful second chance at a swan song in the Second City.

New Post: Watch the goals from the #USMNT win against Honduras

  By, Kyle Gibson

The United States Men’s National Team steamrolled Honduras 6-0 Friday in San Jose to climb up to fourth in the FIFA World Cup Qualifying Hexagonal.

For most of the bountiful U.S. goals, quality matched the quantity. As Stefon might say, this game had it all: free kicks, perfectly weighted passes, first goals, Tim Ream, etc.

The Bay area’s own Sebastian Lletget scored the first goal on the night, and first of his U.S. career, after a Christian Pulisic shot was saved into his path.

Captain Michael Bradley then capitalized on the space Honduras gave him at the top of the box with a very good goal.

The effectiveness of U.S. legend Clint Dempsey was up in the air before Friday’s match, due to his long layoff stemming from heart issues. Deuce showed he could still ball, though, grabbing the third goal off a great Pulisic pass.

Pulisic turned from provider to scorer in the second half, needing just about 15 seconds at the start of the half to make the lead 4-0. This 18-year-old is special, but you knew that.


Dempsey added a fifth goal a few minutes later.

The man of the hour then sealed the deal with a free kick, completing his hat trick and rounding out the score at 6-0.

I’d say that’s a job well done for Bruce Arena and Co.

New Post: Watch Liverpool youth player Curtis Jones’ sensational footwork, goal

Liverpool F.C.has several players  who can run at opponents and beat them 1v1 on the dribble and it looks like at least one player in the team’s youth ranks can as well.

Reds u-18 midfielder  Curtis Jones scored a goal Saturday against Blackburn Rovers that would make senior team stars Phillipe Coutinho, Roberto Fermino, Adam Lallana, Georginio Wijnaldum, Divock Origi and more proud.

Seeing a goal like this from a young player is encouraging, because academy players seem to normally play a conservative style of soccer. Jones not only bamboozles his marker on the run, but links up well with a teammate on the wing before getting the ball back to score the goal.

Jones had plenty of work to do after getting the pass back, as well. His quick footwork and presence of mind under pressure was fantastic. The finish wasn’t easy either, but he still managed to tuck it away.

Jones also scored a headed goal in the 3-0 playoff win. If he keeps this up, I would love to see Jones in the full Liverpool team in a few years.

Follow Kicking It Soccer on Twitter. 


New Post: This American youngster is turning heads

Kellyn Acosta is on fire for F.C. Dallas, and that Dallas burn is being noticed by U.S. Men’s National Team coach Bruce Arena.

The 21-year-old midfielder/defender has four goals in all competitions so far in this early season, including three in CONCACAF Champions League play.

Acosta has scored some quality goals as well. Take a look at this free kick from Wednesday’s 2-1 win against Pachuca.

Acosta also scored a very good goal in the opening week of Major League Soccer action against the LA Galaxy.

Hell, Acosta even has the approval of current U.S. Golden Boy Christian Pulisic.

Acosta has been selected for the upcoming World Cup Qualifier games against Honduras and Panama. Scoring threats from free kicks have long been lacking in the U.S. squad. Acosta’s brilliant goal against Pachuca is promising. His feisty play is an encouraging sign as well.

Hopefully the youngster will be rewarded for his good stretch of form and get a serious look from Arena in coming U.S. matches. A tweet from U.S. Soccer said the manager and his staff are keen on several of the younger players.

Players have to earn Bruce’s trust over time, though, so Acosta’s good play will definitely have to be sharp while he’s with the USMNT as well.
In crucial World Cup Qualifiers, Acosta might not get a nod from Arena, but turning the manager’s head in training and continuing to shine at Dallas could set him up for more opportunities with the national team down the road.

New Post: The Premier League finally has an American manager, Bob Bradley

In a move that had been expected by many, Swansea City fired coach Francesco Guidolin Monday after the club’s 2-1 loss to Liverpool at the weekend.

The replacement came as a shock to many as well, with American and former U.S. Men’s National Team coach Bob Bradley appointed to the position.

Bradley is the first American to be hired as a manager in the Premier League, considered by many to be the best league in the world.

Hiring Bradley came as a surprise to many of the team’s fans on Twitter, who doubted his experience and his previous coaching stops.

In a nutshell, that has been part of the problem for American coaches. Like soccer itself in the U.S., coaches from here do not get much respect. This is largely down to some still thinking American soccer feels like the wild west.

It is fitting justice, however, that Bradley was appointed to the job.No other American coach in recent memory deserves the title of being the first more.

To overcome the stereotype American coaches face is going to take a lot of stepping outside your comfort zone, something Bradley has been doing for years. I have always admired his fearlessness.

After taking over the U.S. from Bruce Arena in 2006 on an interim basis, Bradley acted like anything but an interim manager. He ran the team his way and gave plenty of new players their introduction, something Arena was not known for.

Upon being fired from the U.S. gig in 2011, Bradley could have shrank back into a cushy MLS job, like Arena eventually did with the New York Red Bulls. Bradley looked at the national team level again, though, signing on with Egypt and making them far more competitive.

To prove himself in Europe, Bradley went into the club coaching wilderness for the last two years, first with Stabaek in Norway and then Le Havre in the second tier of France. Bradley  almost guided the latter to French Ligue 1.

More than any American coach, Bradley has shown a tendency to step outside of what is known. He faced a tough task with Swansea, which currently sits one place above relegation with just one Premier League win, which came on the first day of the season against promoted side Burnley.

There are a few good players, such as Gylfi Sigurdsson and Leroy Fer, but the team’s spiritual leader Ashley Williams left in the summer, causing a big hole that was not immediately able to be filled.

Bradley has two weeks now to put his stamp on the club before a tough trio of games — Arsenal away, at home to Watford and Stoke away.

Many might not believe in him right away and things might be ugly, but Bob Bradley does have the experience and the confidence to lead a club in the Premier League.