Don’t tell Pancho Villa’s Army, but the next U.S. Men’s National Team manager could be the current Mexico Men’s National Team coach. That’s right, ESPN is reporting that the current El Tri manager Juan Carlos Osorio has been in contact with what the coach describes as “people linked to American soccer,” though there has been no formal communication with the U.S. Soccer Federation.
This seems incredibly strange, Osorio currently has a job as the coach of the Stars and Stripes’ biggest rival, but he hasn’t been popular in Mexico. Former El Tri striker Hugo Sanchez called for him to be fired after a poor showing at the Confederations Cup, for example. Furthermore, Mexico failed to reach the final of the 2017 Gold Cup with Osorio suspended for the tournament. The team has also had nine coaches in 13 years, so job security isn’t exactly a guarantee.
It is possible that this is just silly season running amok on the international stage, but Osorio could be a surprisingly good fit for the U.S. job. He obviously knows CONCACAF, has international coaching experience, and he knows MLS, to the extent that such knowledge has value. Osorio also played soccer at the university level when he attended college in the United States, so his background in understanding the structure of the U.S. Soccer system is extensive for a manager not from this country.
In an interview with Men in Blazers last summer, Osorio discussed the importance of having competition for players in teams he coaches by having an extensive player pool and rotating who gets called into the national team. He also mentioned his preference for players to play in Europe, specifically discussing MLS saying he would encourage players to go to Europe because “it does not have the amount of top players that other leagues in Europe have.” Whatever comes of this rumor is yet to be seen, but at the very least it looks like Osorio has the qualities that would make for a good USMNT manager.