Steve Nicol and the New England Revolution parted ways Monday, ending the Scotsman’s 10-year spell on the sidelines. The search for his successor has already started and some interesting names have been thrown around.
Nicol’s successor will have the job restoring a team that finished last in the MLS standings to its former glories. The young squad has some talent on which he can build, but a top-to-bottom roster assessment is in order. Former and current players come to mind as well as some long-forgotten, but experienced coaches.
Steve Ralston – The former Revolution midfielder appeared 202 times for the Revolution from 2002-10. He retired in 2010 and began coaching at a second division club in his native St. Louis. After a few months he joined the Houston Dynamo as an assistant coach, where he currently serves.
Richie Williams – The former USA, DC United and New York Metrostars midfielder has extensive experience as an MLS player and coach. He served as an assistant coach for the New York Red Bulls from 2006-2011, including two stints as interim head coach. He was let go by N.Y. earlier this year and recently named head coach of the U.S. U-18 national team. It’s unclear if he can hold two jobs at the same time, but the New Jersey native knows his way around the I-95 corridor.
Shalrie Joseph – At 33-years old, Joseph is nearing the end of his playing days with the Revolution. His contract expires on Dec. 31, and his return to the club (in his current role as highly-paid captain) is in serious doubt. Joseph “picks himself in the team with his performances in practice,” Nicol once said of the dominant midfielder. Joseph could play another season or two, setting the on-field standard, while coaching his young teammates at the same time.
Bob Gansler – The 70-year-old tactician guided the Kansas City Wizards from 1999-06, winning MLS cup in 2000. He also famously led the U.S. national team to the 1990 World Cup, after a 40-year absence. He has been out of the league since 2007, but he may want one last challenge before retiring for good. It’s a stretch, but this is the perfect time for reckless speculation.
Steve Sampson – Sampson is another out-of-work former U.S. national team coach with MLS experience. He coached the L.A. Galaxy from 2004-2006, winning the 2005 MLS Cup over Nicol’s Revolution. Given time and resources, Sampson has the pedigree and ability to develop players and build a winner.
Terry Francona — Just kidding.
Photo courtesy of Flickr/nerevolution