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U.S. Soccer hires Luchi Gonzalez as assistant coach

Long-term FC Dallas guru joins national team program. 

MLS: FC Dallas at Houston Dynamo Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

U.S. Soccer announced the appointment of Luis “Luchi” Gonzalez as an assistant coach to the Men’s National Team, replacing Nico Estevez. The 41-year-old recently served as the manager of FC Dallas in Major League Soccer after a long spell as the club’s academy director, departing the former position in September. He will join the program at the upcoming training camp in Carson, California and be on the touch-line for the friendly against Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“I knew right away when this conversation started that this is what I want to do, and I’m very proud to have the opportunity,” Gonzalez said in the official press release. “I am a product of the American Dream, and it’s the highest honor to represent the crest. I feel very aligned with Gregg [Berhalter] and how he sees the game, and I look forward to working with the top American players and helping the team achieve our goals.”

As a player, Gonzalez competed for the U-17 national team and won the Hermann Trophy while attending Southern Methodist University. His seven-year professional career included stops at the San Jose Earthquakes, Bodens BK, Sporting Cristal, the Colorado Rapids, Miami FC, and the Minnesota Thunder. He is finishing his U.S. Soccer Pro License coaching course.

Berhalter hailed the new hire as a “welcome addition to the team” and cited his experience with the current “generation of players.” At Dallas, Gonzalez helped develop 11 members of the national team program, including Reggie Cannon, Weston McKennie, Ricardo Pepi, and Chris Richards. His assistant, Mikey Varas, was hired last month as the head coach of the U-20 squad.

Gonzalez is one of the more highly-regarded American coaches but was in a difficult situation at Dallas. The club benefits from the most talent-rich area in the country, which has led to a conveyor belt of outbound transfers that were difficult to replace. Berhalter acknowledged this challenge over the summer, defending and praising the soon-to-be-fired manager while urging patience.

As an assistant, Gonzalez’s role can be focused on individual work and more minute aspects of the team. While at FC Dallas, the coach’s focus was on the attacking side of the ball, particularly dribbling. The national team should benefit from his expertise, with the added benefit of being familiar to many of the current players.

Do you think this hire is a good move for the national team? Let us know in the comment section.