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Column: Think Big, Sunil

U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati needs to go big in its search for a replacement for former national team coach Bruce Arena, says Fox Soccer columnist Jaime Trecker. Really, really big, like current Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho big. And Trecker's serious when he says that. He writes: "We believe it is not only possible, but a must for the American Federation to court the man that is inarguably that game's current best club coach and convince him that American soccer is a challenge he can succeed at." Trecker says we could settle for the likes of Barca's Frank Rijkaard, Guus Hiddink, Jurgen Klinsmann, or Bruno Metsu. The idea is to put some serious money on the table and make the talks very, very open. We all know U.S. soccer has come a long way since 1990; in fact, FIFA would have backed out on letting the U.S. host the tournament in 1994 had the team failed to qualify in 1990. Trecker sees it as a three-step process, which starts with Bora Milutinovic'a relative success in 1994 and includes a few good years under Steve Sampson (although not 1998). The Bruce Arena years have been step two, highlighted of course by a quarterfinal finish in 2002 and ending with this year's back-to-earth performance in Germany. Now begins phase three, and we stand at a crucial crossroads. Despite the loss of Claudio Reyna, Brian McBride and Kasey Keller, it will be a talent-rich U.S. squad capable of much more with the right tactician running things. There is no one bigger or better at the moment than Mourinho. This guy hasn't gone without a domestic league title in four years, and doesn't look likely to forfeit Chelsea's top spot this year, either. He may already be bored at Chelsea, and will be gunning for a challenge next.

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