COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — Oscar Pareja almost seemed surprised when he was asked about rumors linking him to FC Dallas’ vacant head coaching position on Wednesday. But the Colorado Rapids head coach didn’t indicate either way when asked if he’d be interested in the job if his old club came calling.
“It’s a very hard question at this moment,” Pareja told reporters on Wednesday after the Rapids’ final practice of 2013. “We are professionals and we are doing a job here. But my job is to be the head coach of Colorado. That’s what I’m doing right now and any other thing is beyond my control and is beyond my ideas right now. We’re just wrapping up the season and trying to figure out how to make this better.”
The Rapids’ second-year coach has been consistently linked to FCD, where he played from 1998-2005 and served as an assistant coach from 2006 through 2011 before being hired by Colorado in January 2012.
The Colombian led the Rapids to a surprising run to the fifth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference this year, raising his profile around the league. Despite the perhaps obvious link between Pareja and Dallas, however, he told reporters on Wednesday that he had yet to be contacted by the club where he made his name in MLS.
“As coaches, you always have your luggage at the front of the door, just in case you want to kick it in or kick it out,” Pareja said. “And that’s life. So we’ll see.”
Pareja said he hasn’t spoken with Rapids president Tim Hinchey or technical director Paul Bravo about a possible contract extension or raise, but he said he was happy in Colorado either way.
“It’s better to be wanted for sure, but it’s a day-by-day thing,” Pareja said. “I know I have a responsibility and I have a sense of appreciation for the people that have helped me in my career, whether I play or coach. And the people here in Colorado have treated me very well.
“I signed for something and I am working for that. That’s what it is.”
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.