US Soccer finally announced a timeline for the hiring of a general manager for the women’s national team. According to the press release, a WNT GM is expected to be in place by next winter. Here’s the timeline as laid out by the release:
- September: post job online, identify candidates
- October-November: pre-screening, phone interviews with up to 10 people
- December-January: in-person interviews, 10 narrowed down to approximately 6 candidates
- February (?): second round of interviews
The timing on second round is uncertain; the release only says that this round will take place after the in-person interviews in the Dec-Jan period. According to USSF, the full committee who will select the WNT GM has not yet been finalized at this time.
The release also lists out the duties of the WNT GM, which include supporting the WNT head coach, helping to implement style and tactics, create positional depth charts, evaluate youth players, work with Sport Development on coaching education, and work with NWSL to develop the relationship between clubs and federation.
These are pretty similar to the duties they listed for the MNT GM. Obviously, the timing and needs between WNT and MNT GM’s is different, given that USSF hired Earnie Stewart as the MNT were coming off of not qualifying for the Men’s World Cup, while the women are now entering their qualification phase for the Women’s World Cup. The release says that the WNT GM will be “in an observation and support role” for Jill Ellis while the team goes through quals and, hopefully, the World Cup, and then will “manage the program moving forward.”
According to The Equalizer, the WNT GM will not oversee the YNT’s.
Small update here: the USWNT GM will not oversee the youth national teams. That is still the responsibility of Women’s Youth Director April Heinrichs. GM will monitor/scout YNTs for senior team. https://t.co/FTKrH177Ue— Jeff Kassouf (@JeffKassouf) September 5, 2018
So now that we have a general outline of GM duties and know that whoever it is will fully take over after the 2019 World Cup, who do you think should be a candidate for the job?
Obviously it should be someone who has an idea of the history of women’s soccer in the US so they can understand the context around why the team is the way it currently is from who gets called in at each age group to the way the team handles contracts and how USSF interacts with NWSL. This person needs to understand what other federations are doing too, so they can look at best practices from countries like Australia and Japan.
They should also be someone who really wants to invest in the growth of the WNT at all levels within USSF and won’t simply be there to sign off on whatever Jill Ellis wants to do with the senior team or whatever Heinrichs wants to do with the youth program. Yes, the GM isn’t in direct control over the YNT’s as per the tweet above, but given the GM will be scouting youth players to join the senior team, hopefully they’ll also be able to see if the program is generating the level of talent and enough of it and act accordingly.
Does this point to an NCAA coach? Or someone in the international game who already has WNT experience? Could USSF lure someone like Mark Krikorian away from Florida State, or in a move that would generate maximum drama, Tom Sermanni, who may be in his last season with the Orlando Pride? Maybe someone like Angela Hucles?Or should it be an outsider, to ensure that they can see the program with fresh eyes?
Give us your best, worst, or wildest candidates in the comments!