Zinedine Zidane should be the next head coach of the United States national team as the team begins to eye qualifying for the 2022 World Cup, so says the man who was the first-ever commissioner of MLS.
On Thursday, Zidane announced that he is leaving Real Madrid, a decision made public just days after he led the Spanish giants to the Champions League title. A former French international and one of the greatest players of his generation, Zidane has been the manager of Real Madrid for the past three years, winning the Champions League each year during that stretch as well as once winning Spain’s La Liga.
Doug Logan, who oversaw the inception of MLS and almost four full years as the league’s first commissioner, thinks that United States Soccer Federation (USSF) president Carlos Cordeiro should be all-in on Zidane. Saying that he is an ideal fit to take over the national team job, Logan thinks that the USSF should already be on the phone trying to woo Zidane.
Since the United States failed to qualify for the World Cup last fall, the team has been under the helm of interim head coach Dave Sarachan.
“I believe this is a gift that has fallen in the hands of Soccer House. Zidane is a big-time coach whose relationships with his players is off the charts,” Logan told Metro. “Relatively young, brilliant strategist, full of swagger. Will give our demoralized side a kick start and international instant cred. If I were Carlos, I would get my ass on a plane tonight for Madrid. You’ve got a hefty bank account. Sell him on the opportunity and give him whatever he wants, within reason. Seize the moment.”
Zidane has achieved tremendous success as a club coach and his personality certainly would be a boon to the national team. In addition, the fact that he represented France 108 times and won a World Cup with the side in 1998 would give him clout in the national team’s locker room.
He also could add some interesting swagger to the federation.
Over the past year, the United States has been engaged in a border war with Mexico over talent. Last fall, 18-year old Jonathan Gonzalez filed a one-time switch to play for Mexico after playing the entirety of his youth national team career with the United States.
Having a talent on the sidelines like Zidane, both a successful manager in Europe and someone who has played and won at the highest levels of the sport, it would be a great recruiting tool for the national team. Zidane might be able to help future national team stars from leaving to play for Mexico.
Something that might just appeal to the likes of wunderkind Efrain Alvarez, a 15-year old who has impressed with the LA Galaxy’s USL team this year. Alvarez was born in Los Angeles but has represented both Mexico and the United States at the youth national team level.
Zidane does come with some baggage, however.
During the 2006 World Cup, he infamously headbutted Marco Materazzi in extra time of the World Cup final. France lost to Italy on penalty kicks to win the World Cup.
Logan doesn’t think that moment is much of an issue.
“Nah…some who know nothing else may talk about it but those who know are aware of his body of work,” Logan said. “If it happens, the headbutt might dominate a news cycle or two with the soccer-ignorant but will pass.”