Two notable international coaches have been linked with the US National Team vacancy this week: Former Argentina Coach Jose Pekerman, and former England boss Sven-Goran Erickson. Both coaches guided their previous sides to quarterfinal penalty kick defeats in germany 2006, but that’s where the similarities end.
Erickson proved during the run up to Germany 2006 that he had no idea how to select players for the national team. Left off the squad were Jermain DeFoe, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Andy Johnson, Darren Bent, Wes Brown, Michael Dawson and James Beattie among others in favor of the likes of Theo Wolcott, Stewart Downing, and Michael Carrick. Some of England’s most skilled and dangerous players still have yet to recieve a good look from the national team because Erickson clearly played favorites.
His managment of in match situations was equally abhorent, culminating with the 118th minute entrance into the Quarterfinal match versus Portugal of Jamie Carragher simply to attempt (and miss) a penalty kick in the shootout. Moreover, Ericksson never right fitted his style of play to the players he had, and never developed his players skills beyond where they were when he took over.
Pekerman as well underachieved with Argentina and mismanaged the match versus Germany. Yet Pekerman, whose only handicap for the job is that he doesn’t speak good English is exactly what the US National Team program desperatly needs: a teacher.
Pekerman guided the Argentine Youth National team to 3 world championships and is best known for teaching young players the technical skills and soccer savvy they need to survive on the international level.
While Pekerman may have been the wrong coach for an established power like Argentina, he is the absolute right fit for a team like ours, which has so many good young raw players that just haven’t learned how to play the game at the next level. If Jurgen Klinsmann is in fact off the table for the USA (as has been reported) and Pekerman wants the job (which has also been widely reported), i’d worry about the language barrier issue later and offer him the position ASAP. As far as Sven-Goran Ericksson is concerned, I would avoid him like the plague.