Long-serving Tab Ramos renews with U.S. Soccer

By Mike Woitalla

Hall of Famer Tab Ramos, who was one of the USA’s longest-serving players, is becoming one of the national team’s longest-serving coaches. Ramos has agreed to continue as U-20 men’s national coach, a position he’s held since November 2013, and as U.S. Soccer Youth Technical Director, which he became in October 2011.

Ramos, who emigrated with his family from Uruguay to New Jersey at age 11, first played for the USA at age 15 in 1982 when he helped it qualify for the 1983 U-20 World Cup, in which also played. For the senior national team, for which he debuted in 1988, Ramos played in the 1990, 1994 and 1998 World Cups, and made his final appearance in 2000, in a qualifying game for the 2002 World Cup.

Ramos, who upon retirement founded the New Jersey youth club NJSA 04 in 2004, took over as head coach of the U.S. U-20 national team after it had failed to qualify for the 2011 U-20 World Cup. He then became the first coach to qualify the USA for three consecutive U-20 World Cups, reaching the quarterfinals in 2015 and 2017. The latter team did so without two top players in the age group, Christian Pulisic and Weston McKennie, who were unavailable because of commitments to their German clubs.

Ramos, earlier this year, guided the USA to its first Concacaf U-20 Championship title.

In 2013, Ramos replaced Claudio Reyna as U.S. Soccer Technical Director, a role that oversees “that full integration of the youth national team program,” from the U-14 to the U-20 level.

During Ramos’ tenure as Youth Technical Director, U.S. Soccer has increased its impact on grassroots youth soccer by implementing rule changes such as the build-out line, standardizing small-sided formats, and switching to calendar-year registration. The USA has also seen an increase in teenagers turning pro.

He is currently the longest-serving U.S. national team coach at any level and is considered a leading candidate to take over as national team head coach after the 2018 World Cup or when Bruce Arena steps aside.

U.S. national team coaches:
Senior: Bruce Arena (2016)
U-20: Tab Ramos (2011)
U-19: Brad Friedel (2016)
U-18: Omid Namazi (2016)
U-17: John Hackworth (2015)*
U-16: Shaun Tsakiris (2016)
U-15: Dave van den Bergh (2016)
U-14: Clint Peay (2016)
* Hackworth previously served as U-17 coach in 2004-2007.

"Tab has been an important part of our national team program for many years, first as a player and more recently as a coach and Youth Technical Director," said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. "His experience allows him to see the U.S. Soccer landscape in a way that few others can. We are excited to extend his contract in a role that is crucial to our organization, and to soccer in the U.S., as the next generations of players continue to evolve.”

In total, Ramos, who served as an assistant to Jurgen Klinsmann at the 2014 World Cup, has represented the USA at 10 world championships.

Tab Ramos' world championships:
1983 U-20 World Cup
1988 Olympic Games
1989 Futsal World Championship
1990 World Cup
1994 World Cup
1998 World Cup
Assistant coach
2014 World Cup
Head coach
2013 U-20 World Cup
2015 U-20 World Cup
2017 U-20 World Cup

"I am very excited to continue my work at U.S. Soccer as Youth Technical Director and U-20 men's national team head coach," Ramos said. "I am pleased with the historic results we have achieved on the field over the last few years as we continue pushing to set higher standards. We have provided great experiences to players who are now beginning to make room for themselves on the senior national team. My Youth Technical Director role gives me the opportunity to continue the integration of all our Youth National Teams as well as helping with the implementation of our Player Development Initiatives nationwide which will help our youth players develop at a much faster rate for years to come.”

27 comments about "Long-serving Tab Ramos renews with U.S. Soccer".
  1. :: SilverRey ::, September 20, 2017 at 10:43 a.m.

    Does anyone know how long the contract is? I'm fine with Tab running things, but nobody seems to reporting this.

  2. Bob Ashpole replied, September 22, 2017 at 12:44 a.m.

    For practical purposes, Tab Ramos will be involved in USSF in some manner for as long as he is willing to serve. I hope that will be for many years. I also hope that more national team players will become coaches, both men and women.

  3. frank schoon replied, September 22, 2017 at 11:33 a.m.

    BOB, check this out

  4. frank schoon replied, September 22, 2017 at 11:34 a.m.

    Bob sorry wrong URL..

  5. Bob Ashpole replied, September 22, 2017 at 7:07 p.m.

    Thanks for the link Frank. People get so wrapped up in the pro game, that they forget that youth sports do more important things than develop a few future professional players.

  6. Roy Pfeil, September 20, 2017 at 3:46 p.m.

    Around 1981 George Tarantini, former coach at NC State, and at the time a coach in the ENY ODP, brought me over at a Region 1 ODP event to look at an outstanding 13 or 14 year old player. George told me that if he were to become a college coach the player he showed me was the kind of player he would recruit. A few years later George became the coach at NC State and he eventually recruited Tab...congratulations to Tab what a great story

  7. barry politi, September 20, 2017 at 10:30 p.m.

    Tab is just another selfish, and egotistical crony, just like Sunil.

  8. don Lamb replied, September 22, 2017 at 11:24 p.m.

    Making tough decisions that are not popular does not make a person selfish or a crony. Do you have any issues with these guys other than the change to the birth year?

  9. Gus Keri, September 21, 2017 at 3:11 p.m.

    Tab Ramos is the best thing happened to youth soccer in America. I hope he gets the USMNT job sometime soon.

  10. Carlos Ramirez, September 22, 2017 at 12:34 a.m.

    Tab Ramos is a class act. Coached against him at a tournament in PHX when he was a youth club coach for the New Jersey Gunners. His players were disciplined and well coached. He belongs in the National Team! Good luck coach!!

  11. James Madison, September 22, 2017 at 1:26 a.m.

    I stand with those who see Tab Ramos as a positive addition to US Soccer. However, I question whether an increase in teenagers turning pro, whether male or female, is as positive a development as an increase in teenagers developing a sufficient love of the game to become lifetime players would be.

  12. Bob Ashpole replied, September 22, 2017 at 4:06 a.m.

    Different priorities for different jobs. In the national team program, the goal is to get teens playing for professional clubs. Club soccer mostly develops amateur players. Only about 4% of high school players go on to play college. Future professionals are rare as hen teeth.

  13. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, September 22, 2017 at 9:38 a.m.

    They are both positive developments and in no way mutually exclusive.

  14. frank schoon, September 22, 2017 at 9:12 a.m.

    I would like to see an interview with Tab and let him talk about how he learned the game as a youth back in Uruguay and what he deemed as an important aspect in learning the game there, technically and tactically, that perhaps youth coaches here can employ....

  15. Forever Blue, September 22, 2017 at 2:24 p.m.

    I like Tab and always enjoyed watching him play. I see him as a good coach but not great. I think he still has a lot to offer but I would like to see him gain more diverse coaching experience and bring back to the national team. Maybe go coach or at least be an understudy on one of the big European clubs and coaches.

  16. Bob Ashpole replied, September 22, 2017 at 7:14 p.m.

    Pep Guardiola didn't learn to coach by being an understudy of some big European coach. He learned his view of football from Cruyff while a player. I suspect Tab may replace Arena in 2019. That would be good for the program and good for Tab.

  17. frank schoon, September 23, 2017 at 8:01 a.m.

    Bob, actually that wouldn't be a bad idea, to have Tab serve as an assistant to Guardiola for about a year or two. Coming back to the States he would be a plus to the Neanderthal coaching we have here. This would be PLUS INPUT or an addition to our informational base of coaching knowledge,similarly as Guardiola has had an effect on the Coaching in Germany. This is how the inside soccer knowledge is spread.

  18. Bob Ashpole replied, September 23, 2017 at 11:24 a.m.

    Frank as near as I can tell outsiders don't get hired as assistants or staff. From what I have read, Pep's outstanding quality is making game plans and being able to read games. I suspect a lot of his genius comes from a career of reading the game at the pivot position. Also Pep uses a system that takes the best players in the world a year or more to learn. Ramos on the other hand is a national team coach--his players are much different in both background and ability--and he doesn't have a year of training sessions to teach them his style of play. Working with Pep would be just about everyone's dream job, but it is just not going to happen or help a US national team coach.

  19. frank schoon replied, September 23, 2017 at 11:58 a.m.

    Bob, I understand the actual logistics of this idea would be difficult. But then again if I were running the USSF I would make a push to including the aspect of remuneration even to have a person like Ramos to be with Gaurdiola or another great coach added to his staff. I just finished reading "Pep Guardiola" by Perarnau. Guardiola is the type of person to help others further the growth in soccer. In his book he talked about how learned from others like Cruyff, and other coaches, Cruyff from Michels, etc. Did you know the author of this book hung around with Guardiola the whole year 'round to write this book, so there is no doubt in my mind he wouldn't extend this courtesy in the name of improving US soccer. It has nothing to do with Ramos being a Nat'l team coach but the actual fact of having an American coach to be with Guardiola to learn more of the deeper insights of the game. We need to raise the informational data base of soccer knowledge , here. It is also another reason why i'm interested to see how the coach of Atlanta is influencing the players soccer wise. I hope Kennedy or Woitella will interview him and players to find out what is different or what they are learning that is new.

  20. Forever Blue, September 23, 2017 at 9:32 a.m.

    Bob, not meant as a slight against Tab. I do believe he will eventually be the national team coach. But he has spent most of his recent career within the US system. With the way the game has changed and is changing I think some more current international experience will be beneficial. Note that clubs are more likely to try newer systems, formations, techniques before national teams plus they also have more historical data. And I mean in-resident experience, not just classes.

  21. Bob Ashpole replied, September 23, 2017 at 11:38 a.m.

    I don't think the game has significantly changed since the 1970s and the advent of attacking fullbacks and clogged center channels. Other major developments are interchange of positions, pressing and zone defenses. Everything since then, like Barca tiki-taka is a refinement rather than something new. You refer to "newer systems, formations, techiques, but honestly I don't know of any new ones unless something 30 years old is "newer."

  22. Forever Blue replied, September 23, 2017 at 1:35 p.m.

    Okay Bob. The latest refinements and views of the game. Also exposure to different perspectives. Unless you truly believe we've got it all correct in the US.

  23. Bob Ashpole replied, September 23, 2017 at 6:37 p.m.

    I think coaching soccer is like engineering, not science. In other words coaches need to be very practical, knowing what works, and applying it. Theory is for sports writers and scientists. Regarding your original comment, I don't disagree with you, rather that I think this is a bit of "the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence." Bob Bradley gets around and there are a few other Americans coaching in Europe. It would be interested to hear what they thought about coaching experience overseas.

  24. frank schoon replied, September 24, 2017 at 10:45 a.m.

    Bob, it would be nice to interview Bradley and I have yet to see a good interview with Klinsman and what his thoughts are , since he's no longer coaching he could give an honest assessment on the state of affairs. I'm reading Cruyff's last book which you have also but I have it in Dutch. Cruyff mentioned Klinsman and his problem of getting the best players on the USMNT. He stated that the league does not want Klinsmans to pick 3or4 guys from the same MLS team for that doesn't look good for the other teams and for the PR...This happens all the time in Europe, just look at Spain who basically had players from Barcelona and Real Madrid. He stated that the MLS forced Klinsman to pick players from as many teams as possible making it tougher to create the best possible team. Was that in the English version of your book as well?

  25. frank schoon, September 23, 2017 at 12:50 p.m.

    Bob, there is nothing new under the sun as Cruyff stated and further stated whatever he has done in not new and been done before. This is why Guardiola brought back for Bayern Munchen the tactical system of 2-3-5 that was invented by Cambridge College in England back in the 1880's and this system was played up until the late 50's. But how many really knew that.
    The real point is the ability to be able to choose any system and apply it to the players you have, all in context how it best can be applied to the weaknesses of of the contemporary systems used. For example, Cruyff chose to play a 4-3-3 wingers since everybody played 4-4-2. He realized the outside backs in a 4-4-2 never guarded anyone, therefore weak man to man, and chose, therefore to play with wingers. This resulted also at the same time of stopping attacking backs for now they had to guard up close the wingers...It broke the whole rhythm of the team. But how often do you see a coach go against all norms for all coaches basically follow what is popular or what is contemporary norm of play and never try to stick their neck for fear of losing.

  26. Bob Ashpole replied, September 23, 2017 at 6:30 p.m.

    Frank that is a trick question, because at professional clubs coaches don't stick their neck out. Coaching in competitions, especially tournaments is primarily about game management. I really don't know anything about game management at the professional level. I haven't coached anything other than adult recreational and youth developmental. I am stuck applying my experience in managing people and projects in other areas. Very few managers are risk takers. For that matter very few successful people are risk takers. The Perarnua books are great but the English translator apparently didn't understand soccer terms (in Spanish or English).

  27. frank schoon, September 23, 2017 at 7:06 p.m.

    Bob, my post relates to pro level only. You are right about the translation, that is why I buy books that discuss a lot of tactics like Pep not in english but in dutch.
    I remember an english translation from dutch that although was correct it was translated too literal thus point made was wrong. What was said in Dutch meant out of bounds, not geographically, but rhetorically, and the translator interpreted as "off sides". But my overall point about everybody following or doing the same does covers pros on down to youth level, for the youth coaches basically follow the format of the pros. For example, Everyone plays the flatback defense, no sweeper...It is what it is. Cruyff a made point that whatever is the trend of play in soccer, find out the weakness of it and play a system that works well against the weakness. Most teams are used to playing other teams who play the same style of soccer, and therefore no surprises and therefore it works to your advantage to play a different style plays upon their weakness.

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