The hiring of Bruce Arena as the United States Men's National Team coach is a stopgap solution. Arena knows CONCACAF well, having managed the U.S. from 1998-2006 and the LA Galaxy from 2008-2016. His experience and knowledge of CONCACAF gives the U.S. a good chance to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, but his contract only runs through the 2018 World Cup. Barring an incredible showing in Russia, it won’t be renewed.
Here’s an early look at five managers who could succeed Arena as USMNT head coach.
David Wagner, manager of English Championship side Huddersfield Town, is considered to be one of the top American managers right now. Huddersfield currently sit third in the Championship and are fighting for promotion to the Premier League. Wagner had a solid, but unspectacular playing career as a striker in Germany.
He made 8 appearances for the USMNT from 1996-1998. Wagner primarily uses a 4-2-3-1 and his team plays quickly and aggressively. He is German-American and would seemingly have an upper hand in continuing to convince German-Americans to represent the U.S.
Peter Vermes is arguably the best American coach in MLS, leading Sporting Kansas City to the U.S. Open Cup in 2012 and MLS Cup in 2013. In addition to being the team’s coach, he has also been the technical director since 2006. Vermes had a nomadic playing career as a defender and made 66 appearances for the USMNT.
He is of Hungarian descent and spent several years playing in Europe. He also speaks limited, but serviceable Spanish. Vermes mostly deployed a 4-3-3 in the 2016 MLS season with Sporting KC, emphasizing short passing and capitalizing on set pieces.
In a little more than three seasons, Oscar Pareja has turned FC Dallas into one of the top sides in MLS. During his reign, Dallas has always made it to at least the Western Conference Semifinals. Additionally, the team won the 2016 Supporter’s Shield and U.S. Open Cup.
The former Colombian international is fluent in both Spanish and English, which would surely appeal to Spanish speaking players eligible for the USMNT. Pareja is one of the most talented coaches in MLS and will surely be in charge of a bigger team soon.
Pellegrini has never managed a national team, but has a wealth of experience as a club coach. He has managed teams such as Real Madrid, Villarreal, River Plate, and Manchester City. He currently is in charge of Chinese Super League side Hebei China Fortune. Prior to managing in China, he won two English League Cups and one Premier League title with Manchester City.
He is fluent in both English and Spanish. Pellegrini is known for using variations of the 4-4-2, with his preferred formation often appearing to be a 4-2-2-2. His teams are typically excellent in attack and focus on possessing the ball.
Laurent Blanc is currently unemployed after being fired by Paris Saint-Germain at the conclusion of the 2015-2016 season. PSG won the domestic treble that season, but Blanc was heavily criticized for the team’s loss to Manchester City in the Champions League quarter-finals. Prior to coaching PSG, Blanc led the French National Team, from 2010-2012.
He was moderately successful with France, but during Euro 2012 (his only tournament in charge of the team) Les Bleus lost 2-0 in the quarterfinals to eventual champions Spain. Blanc had a successful career as a sweeper and won 97 caps for France. He is a tactical chameleon who changes his team’s formation and playing style as he sees necessary.