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
2014 World Cup
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.”