Sarachan’s tenure as US interim coach nearing year mark
WHIPPANY, N.J. (AP) — Cherie Sarachan wonders along with many U.S. soccer fans.
“Yeah, my wife asks me all the time what my future’s going to be,” American interim coach Dave Sarachan said ahead of Friday’s exhibition against Brazil. “But I look at it day by day and just doing my job and enjoying the role.”
Sarachan was Bruce Arena’s top assistant with the U.S. national team from 2000-02 and returned after Arena replaced Jurgen Klinsmann in November 2016. Arena quit last October, three days after the U.S. was eliminated from World Cup qualifying with a 1-0 loss at Trinidad and Tobago, ending a streak of seven straight appearances at soccer’s showcase. Sarachan took over as interim coach, a tenure that next week will surpass the length of Arena’s second term.
Sarachan took over for a friendly at Portugal last November and hopes to be considered to lead the Americans back to the World Cup in 2022. The search for a permanent coach kept getting pushed back, first for the U.S. Soccer Federation presidential election, then as USSF staff concentrated on the selection of the 2026 World Cup host, then as the federation waited for Earnie Stewart to start his new job as men’s national team general manager on Aug. 1.
Sarachan’s interim tag was extended for a January training camp and exhibition, for a pair of March friendlies and three more games in May and June. He appears set to keep the role for six more games this year.
“I think he’s done a great job here,” right back DeAndre Yedlin said before the first training session Monday, two days after scoring his first Premier League goal for Newcastle in a 2-1 loss at Manchester City.
Sarachan’s previous head coaching jobs were at Cornell from 1989-97 and with the Chicago Fire from 2003 until mid-2007. Now 64, he is the oldest of the American candidates, a group that could include Peter Vermes, Gregg Berhalter and Tab Ramos. Atlanta coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino is a possibility among foreigners; former Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio was eliminated when he was hired Monday to coach Paraguay.
Stewart, who will recommend a candidate to new USSF President Carlos Cordeiro and the federation board of directors, has not commented on the search since his hiring was announced in June. The former U.S. midfielder, who had been Philadelphia’s sporting director, looked on during Monday’s workout at the New York Red Bulls training facility and is expected to give an update this week.
“Making the right choice is the most important thing,” Stewart said in June. “It’s process over speed.”
Christian Pulisic, the Americans’ 19-year-odl star midfielder, is missing these games because of an unspecified muscle injury. Sarachan added a 25th player to his roster Monday, calling in 25-year-old Toronto midfielder Marky Delgado.
Sarachan has given 18 players debuts in leading the Americans to wins over Paraguay and Bolivia, a loss at Ireland and draws against Portugal, Bosnia-Herzegovina and eventual world champion France. Among the players in his nucleus are defenders Matt Miazga and Cameron Carter-Vickers, and midfielders Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams.
“My instincts have told me to look forward and start to vet some of these prospects that we think have a future,” Sarachan said. “I think we have established now somewhat of a core of guys that have sort of taken on that responsibility of turning that page and looking forward, so I feel good about it.”
Brazil, playing for the first time since losing to Belgium in the World Cup quarterfinals, brought in a roster mixing newcomers with stars that include Neymar, Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho.
Sarachan has chosen thus far to overlook U.S. veterans who have a chance to make the 2022 World Cup roster, such as midfielder Michael Bradley, forward Jozy Altidore and goalkeeper Brad Guzan. They may not be brought in until Sarachan or his successor picks a roster ahead of the CONCACAF Gold Cup next June.
“I know what they can bring,” Sarachan said. “They’re part of the future when we get into the meat of things next year.”
The U.S. plays Mexico on Sept. 11 at Nashville, Tennessee, faces Colombia on Oct. 11 at Tampa, Florida, and may host Peru the following week. The Americans play England in London on Nov. 15 and Italy five days later at a European site to be announced.
“I think the value for the experience for younger players is invaluable,” Sarachan said.