The rumor mill is churning once again, and if a report from ESPN’s Jeffrey Carlisle is to be believed, FC Dallas is again pursuing Colorado Rapids manager Oscar Pareja for its vacant head coaching position.
Carlisle reported on Thursday that Pareja is willing to listen on Dallas offers and that the Rapids’ front office “seems resigned to the possibility of losing Pareja.”
FC Dallas was believed to be the team that contacted the Rapids last month about Pareja’s availability, but the Rapids adamantly turned down the presumed initial request.
Rapids president Tim Hinchey sternly attempted to deter any potentially interested clubs, saying last month: “I think the easiest thing to put this to bed is, regardless of anyone who has called or will call, they’re going to get the same answer, which will be denied permission to speak to our coach. And that’s not going to change.”
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But perhaps circumstances have changes. When first asked about the rumors in early November, Pareja didn’t confirm or deny any interest, preferring to focus on the upcoming postseason, but he did say at the time: “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. And that’s life. So we’ll see.”
The Rapids issued an official statement on the subject on Thursday, saying: “We do not comment on other team's coaching searches, and our conversations with other teams regarding our players or staff will always remain private. As for Oscar Pareja, he is under contract at the Rapids through 2015.”
Pareja spent over a decade at FC Dallas both as a player and then as an assistant coach before the Rapids hired him in January 2012. After a disappointing 2012, the 45-year-old Colombian enjoyed a highly successful 2013, leading the Rapids to the playoffs on the back of a young, talented squad that blossomed during the second half of the season.
But whether Pareja will return for year three of his rebuilding project at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park appears to be a murky question once again.
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.