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Rumor: USMNT interested in Northern Ireland coach Michael O’Neill

Silly season continues.

Norway v Northern Ireland - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier Photo by Andrew Halseid-Budd/Getty Images

There have been many coaches that have been rumored as possible hires by the United States. Today, ESPN commentator Ian Darke added another one to the list, stating that U.S. Soccer will consider Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill as their next USMNT coach.

O’Neill has held the top job with his native Northern Ireland since 2011 and led the Green and White Army to its first ever Euros in 2016. Northern Ireland lost in controversial fashion in the UEFA playoff this past weekend to Switzerland, missing out on the chance to play in the World Cup next summer. Still, for a nation who has not made the World Cup since 1986, he has brought his native country back into relevance.

O’Neill does not come without his own baggage, however. He recently pleaded guilty for driving under the influence of alcohol in Edinburgh and was banned from driving for 16 months and fined. On the field, he has limited experience as a coach, managing Brechin City and Shamrock Rovers from 2006-2011 before being elevated to the Northern Ireland job. He does have some knowledge of the American game from his short stint with the Portland Timbers during a 20-year career that included stops at Newcastle, Wigan Athletic, Glentoran, and Reading. It is unclear how much knowledge he has of the USMNT player pool, but it’s a name to watch over the coming months.

What are your thoughts on O’Neill as a possible permanent head coach for the USMNT?