HOUSTON – While the Houston Dynamo are looking to take another step in the playoffs, assistant coach Steve Ralston may be a step closer to becoming an MLS head coach.
Reports surfaced out of Houston on Tuesday that the New England Revolution have been granted permission by the Dynamo to interview current assistant coach Ralston about their vacant head coach position.
While the Dynamo are preparing for the crucial second leg of their Eastern Conference semifinal series with the Philadelphia Union (8:30 pm ET, ESPN2, TSN2, live chat on MLSsoccer.com), the players were candid about their feelings towards Ralston and any possible departure.
“He’s been a great mentor to me having played the position,” said Danny Cruz. “I know he’s focused on [Thursday’s match] as much as anybody, but with that being said, whatever happens, he deserves the chance.”
Ralston has been with the team since the middle of last season and has become a big part of the Dynamo staff.
For the first-time coach, his current opportunity has given him a chance to work with players and hone his coaching skills. His experience as a player in the league is a plus that a number of players mentioned.
“He’s out there every single day working with the younger guys after practice,” midfifelder Brad Davis said. “I think Dom [Kinnear, Houston head coach] is more hands on and in the forefront, but if you look at what [Ralston] does every day, his experience and his impact is huge.”
With the pending talks, Ralston could make it two years in a row that the Dynamo see an assistant coach step into a head coaching position.
Despite the Ralston news circling around, the Houston players and coaches didn’t seem distracted at all on the eve of their match against Philadelphia. There was however, a sense of pride and hopefulness from the players towards their coach’s future job prospects.
“We had [John Spencer, current Portland Timbers head coach] last year and he was great for the club. I think [other teams] come here because of that success and the way things go in this organization,” Davis said. “But on the selfish side, we want him to stay here. But you’re never going to stop him from an opportunity like that. Whatever happens, I wish him well.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on twitter at @Dynamoexaminer.