MLS coaching search takes new twist

[MLS] With the news that Akron coach Caleb Porter has decided to stay with the college game, the man in the spotlight is Kansas City Wizards head coach Curt Onalfo, who has been interviewed by both D.C. United and Chicago. A source says at least five candidates have been interviewed by the Fire: assistant coach Mike Jeffries, former D.C. United head coach Tom Soehn, Chivas USA midfielder Jesse Marsch, former Fire and Galaxy midfielder Chris Armas, and Onalfo, who was dismissed by Kansas City technical director Peter Vermes last August.

Onalfo, Soehn and Jeffries (Dallas 2001-03) have MLS head-coaching experience. Armas worked one season as an assistant coach in Chicago, and Marsch is debating whether to play another season for new coach Martin Vasquez or enter the coaching ranks. Though publicly technical director Frank Klopas is spearheading the search, lead investor Andrew Hauptman made the decision to dump former head coach Denis Hamlett and go in another direction.

The Fire is also considering at least two other coaches, according to another source, but it isn't known if they have been, or will be, interviewed. Also not known is the Fire's interest, if any, in RSL assistant coach Robin Fraser, who was contacted by D.C. United.

Another variable is former D.C. and MetroStars midfielder Richie Williams, who served as the Red Bulls interim head coach and didn't receive much of an endorsement from Erik Soler when he was presented as the team's new sporting director last week.

Time is getting short for teams to get their coaching affairs in order. The preseason gets underway early in the New Year with the MLS Player Combine in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Jan. 9-12, and the MLS SuperDraft in Philadelphia Jan. 14.

 

If a new collective bargaining agreement is negotiated before Jan. 31, teams will start preseason training the first week of February.

 

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