will be the only head coach in MLS next season without any previous experience as a player or coach in the league, but that doesn't mean he is coming
As manager at Burnley, Bolton Wanderers and then Wigan Athletic, he brought his teams to the United States each summer for six years, so he knows the landscape. They weren't
Real Madrid or Chelsea he was managing so the games he was able to schedules weren't always big clubs. Many of them were NASL or USL clubs. At the end of his second tour with Bolton, it played its
first big match in the United States: the Dynamo Charities Cup against the Houston Dynamo, the former club of Bolton's Stuart Holden
, and Coyle said Bolton
coaches and his players were struck by the reception they received at an open practice session.
"I was taken aback by the warmth of the fans," he said.
Three and a half years
after that match at Robinson Stadium, Coyle is back as coach of the Dynamo, replacing Dominic Kinnear
"He has tremendous respect for the game in
this country, for MLS," said Dynamo president Chris Canetti
in a conference call with reporters on Tuesday afternoon. "They were extremely important factors for
us a club going forward and for what the club stands for."
Few head coaches have come into the league without previous playing or coaching experience in North America and succeeded. Even
Englishman Gary Smith
, who led the Colorado Rapids to the MLS Cup title in 2010, had been working in the Rapids' organization for half a year when he was hired,
first as interim coach in 2008. Such well-known names as Brazilian Carlos Alberto Parreira
, Portuguese Carlos Queiroz
and Dutchman Ruud Gullit
came here and had no impact in MLS. MLS Coaching Imports: COACH (COUNTRY), TEAM (YEARS) Bobby Houghton
(England), Colorado (1996) Frank
(Ireland), New England (1996) Carlos Queiroz
(Portugal), New York (1996)
Carlos Alberto Parreira
(Brazil), New York (1997)
(Brazil), Miami (1998-2000) Ruud Gullit
Galaxy (2007) John Carver
(England), Toronto FC (2008-09) Carlos de los
(Mexico), Chicago (2010-11) Hans Backe
(Sweden), New York (2010-12) Aron Winter
Toronto FC (2011-12) Jose Luis Sanchez Sola
(Mexico), Chivas USA (2013) Marco Schaellibaum
Montreal (2013) Owen Coyle
(Scotland), Houston (2015)
How will Coyle be different? Canetti says it wasn't about simply hiring a new coach.
"We wanted to find the best coach for the team regardless of where he was from, " he said, "and we've got a tremendous and dynamic team we are building here on the technical side with
[general manager] Matt Jordan
and guys like [director of soccer operations] Nick Kobwa
, [assistant coaches] Steve Ralston
, Wade Barrett
and Tim Hanley
. Owen comes in very humble and with an
appreciation and understanding of the league rules, not trying to work against them or use them as an excuse if success cannot be met. One difference now than from the past is we are not asking Owen
to know the insides and outs of MLS. That is what the team around him can fill him in on, especially with [GM] Matt Jordan
and the expertise he brings to the team. It wasn't about one
Coyle is happy to take up the challenge of showing what he can do.
“Regardless of what league or competition you’re in, if you can coach, you can
coach,” he told reporters earlier in the day at an introductory press conference. “It’s a huge challenge. In many ways, I’m delighted people keep mentioning that. I’m
here and if it’s to prove a point then it’s to prove a point.”
Just because of his background in England, he says he shouldn't be viewed as taking an English approach to
“My teams aren’t direct,” Coyle said. “You only have to look back to my Burnley team. My Burnley team passed and moved the ball, and that’s the way
I’ve played. My teams have always had that level of excitement. I went into Bolton Wanderers, who had played a direct style, and I changed that. Stuart Holden, Jack Wilshere
and Daniel Sturridge
, those boys didn’t play a direct style."
Asked whether the success of MLS MVP Robbie Keane
, an Irish international like him, meant he wanted to bring in British-based players, Coyle said he would first defer to Jordan on what was available in
"We will look to bring in the best players possible," he said, "given our structure and no matter where they are from worldwide."
Coyle's challenge is made even greater
because the Dynamo, which did not make the playoffs in 2014, is moving to the Western Conference, where sixth-place Portland has quickly upgraded its team, and Sporting Kansas City, the 2013 MLS
champion, also moves.
"We know how tough this conference is with the quality," he said. "Every club will be looking to add to their roster. That's the challenge we face, but we're excited
by it. All we can affect is what we do.