U.S. Soccer announced on Tuesday that Tab Ramos has signed an extension to continue on as the program’s U-20 Head Coach and Youth Technical Director. The former USMNT midfielder has been manager since 2011 and TD since 2013.
"Tab has been an important part of our National Team program for many years, first as a player and more recently as a coach and Youth Technical Director," U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati said in an official press release. "His experience allows him to see the U.S. Soccer landscape in a way that few others can. We are excited to extend his contract in a role that is crucial to our organization, and to soccer in the U.S., as the next generations of players continue to evolve."
This announcement comes as a bit of a surprise. Speculation after the U.S. U-20’s elimination from the World Cup quarterfinals this summer was that Ramos would depart for another job. Before the tournament, he was reportedly a candidate for the San Jose Earthquake’s General Manager position.
When you start to ponder why Ramos would be brought back yet again for a fourth cycle, it’s hard not to turn your attention to the USMNT manager position. Bruce Arena will be done after the 2018 World Cup barring something drastic happening. This is almost assured at this point, whether the U.S. qualify or not. While many names have been bandied about regarding who would replace him, the most logical name has been under the USSF umbrella for a long time.
Reviews of Ramos’ performance as U-20 Head Coach have been mixed. In 2015 and 2017, he led talented teams to the quarterfinals of the World Cup. He’s also seen embarrassment of bombing out of the 2013 group stage, partly due to being in a ridiculously tough group. Overall youth development under his watch has been spotty at best with a few notable success stories like Christian Pulisic, Matt Miazga, and DeAndre Yedlin. It hasn’t all been smooth sailing as there have been missteps along the way too, most notably the talented 2013 team that failed to develop much in the way of next level talent outside of Yedlin and Kellyn Acosta.
U.S. Soccer are keeping Ramos around for something and surely there are jobs out there for the taking if he wanted to leave. His patience and loyalty to the program may just play in his favor when the big job opens up next fall.
At this point it’s 98% speculation and 2% common sense to think he’s one of, or even the favorite to replace Arena. We’re still many, many months (assuming qualification) from having to worry about the manager’s job. However, this is a good time to open up the floor for a discussion.
What are your thoughts on Tab Ramos’ prospects, either in the short or long term, as a future USMNT manager? Has he shown you enough with the U-20’s to make you comfortable with him getting the job? Let us know what you think.