With Earnie Stewart now all set to become the first ever general manager of the United States Soccer Federation, the daunting task that he inherits will be hiring a head coach for the men’s national team. If former Mexican international Pavel Pardo had Stewart’s ear for a moment, he’d likely tell him to consider a familiar name for the job.
Juan Carlos Osorio.
Pardo, who made 146 appearances for Mexico, played for some of the biggest clubs in his country as well as Bundesliga club VfB Stuttgart. He finished his career in MLS with the Chicago Fire, retiring in 2012, giving Pardo an understanding of CONCACAF as well as American soccer. He also has closely watched Osorio lead Mexico to effortlessly qualify for this summer’s World Cup in Russia.
The United States failed to make the tournament, ending a streak of World Cup appearances that dates back to 1990. Osorio has drawn some criticism as head coach of Mexico but he’s effectively rebuilt a side that struggled to qualify for the previous World Cup.
Mexico currently ranks No. 15 in the world according to the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking. Pardo sees Osorio, who has coached in MLS, as a good fit to take over the United States after the World Cup.
“I think so, 100 percent. He has the mentality,” Pavel told Metro in an interview last week when asked about Osorio being a candidate for the United States national team. “I think, in my opinion, he could be a great coach for the US National Team. He was doing it in Mexico – of course in Mexico he has a lot of critics. They talk about his teams, his rotations. When you see the results, the performance, the most important thing, qualifying and getting to the World Cup, he certainly understands the game and has had success. He also understands the American player too and certainly MLS. I think Juan Carlos would be a great coach for the US.”
Pardo spoke to Metro as part of a promotional tour for Panini. The Italian-based Panini company has produced World Cup stickers since 1970. In what is now their twelfth installment of World Cup stickers, millions of Americans routinely buy the collectible every four years.
Now retired, Pardo readily admits that he collects Panini stickers with his children – “I love it and they love it. It is something fun for us all to do as we get ready for the World Cup this summer!” He said that he knew players on his two World Cup teams that collected Panini as well as participants in the tournament.
As for Osorio, it will be interesting to see if he gets a look from the United States. He has the knowledge of CONCACAF that should provide for a seamless transition to the post. He also coached several years in MLS, giving him a knowledge of the terrain and unique challenges presented by MLS and the numerous Americans playing in Europe and Mexico.
Osorio is also bi-lingual, a plus for the job.
The aforementioned Stewart, currently the sporting director of the Philadelphia Union, is expected to be named the general manager of the USSF in the coming days. Metro was first to break the news on Wednesday morning that Stewart was in negotiations with the Federation for the role of general manager.