The fallout from the United States men’s national team’s failure to qualify for the World Cup has been wide-reaching, most notably prompting coach Bruce Arena and federation president Sunil Gulati to relinquish their jobs.
But a path forward began to materialize Saturday, when Carlos Cordeiro was elected as the new U.S. Soccer president. Cordeiro convinced voters he will take the federation in a new direction.
Could that lead him to Kansas City?
Sporting KC coach Peter Vermes will potentially be on the list of domestic candidates for the U.S. men’s national team coaching job vacated by Arena. He and Cordeiro aren’t strangers. The two served together on the U.S. Soccer Federation’s Board of Directors more than a decade ago. There’s a familiarity that could bode well for Vermes’ chances to be in the mix.
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If he wants to be in the mix. When the topic initially presented itself last October, shortly after the Americans’ elimination, Vermes did not tip his hand.
“That’s not something I would talk about at this time. You guys have heard me in the past — the one thing I’ve always said (is) anybody is going to listen to somebody (if) they come and talk to you,” Vermes said in October.
Since that comment, another wrinkle has been added to the equation. U.S. Soccer announced it will hire a general manager in addition to a men’s coach. That essentially splits duties that were combined during Jurgen Klinsmann’s tenure with the U.S. national team.
Vermes has plenty of opinions on what needs to take place to reconfigure the success of the men’s national team. But even if the opportunity to implement that vision presents itself, those close to Vermes are unsure if he would be willing to relinquish the full control Sporting KC ownership has provided him. As technical director in Kansas City, Vermes oversees the roster construction in addition to coaching the team. He also is in charge of the club’s other properties, including the Swope Park Rangers and the academy teams.
In a conversation with The Star last month, Vermes re-iterated that he is happy with his setup in Kansas City. His acceptance of a perceived elevation should not be considered a guarantee.
The national team vacancy is a situation that currently demands navigating through a series of hypotheticals. Cordeiro’s victory Saturday is the first step toward answers. A general manager is the next. The yet-to-be-named general manager is expected to have the most significant say in selecting a coach, as much as Cordeiro.
According to Sports Illustrated, Seattle Sounders general manager Garth Lagerwey is among those who will be considered for that job. The report by Grant Wahl further stated that Cordeiro will be at the U.S. Soccer headquarters in Chicago on Wednesday to discuss candidates with U.S. Soccer CEO Dan Flynn.
Until that’s settled, the chances that Vermes is a preferred choice remains to be seen. For the moment, whether it’s his preferred choice remains very much in doubt, too.