HOUSTON – The New England Revolution announced that they were taking on a former player as their new head coach Tuesday. However, that ex-player was not Houston Dynamo assistant coach Steve Ralston.
Ralston interviewed for the job but was not selected. Instead, former Revolution defender and Ralston's longtime teammate Jay Heaps was hired for the job.
After the Dynamo’s last training session before leaving for the MLS Cup final, Ralston revealed he was happy for Heaps.
“I’m happy for Jay. He’s a good friend of mine, smart guy and I’m sure he’ll surround himself with good people,” Ralston said. "He’ll spend every waking moment thinking about how to better the organization and win. I’m sure he’ll do well.”
Ralston’s was one of several names associated with the job and he was thought to be a favorite because of his distinguished career in New England and time coaching in Houston.
While he did not get the job, Ralston got his first exposure to what it takes to move up the coaching ranks. Coaches often talk about the experience of going through the interview process and as a first-year coach, Ralston was quick to point out that the interview with his former club could pay dividends down the line.
“To be honest, I’d never had an interview for a coaching job and I thought it went pretty well,” Ralston said. “The guys I sat down with I’ve known for years and, in that regard, it was pretty laid back. It was a great experience and next time I hope it goes better.”
Ralston is young in the coaching ranks and admits that he is still learning the ropes. He credited working under Dominic Kinnear with accelerating that process.
With the Revolution job having been decided, Ralston now shifts his full attention to his current job in Houston, a side he hopes will be his first MLS Cup-winning team on Sunday (9 pm ET; ESPN, Galavision, TSN2; live chat on MLSsoccer.com).
“I did interview [with New England], but at the same time, I’m very fortunate that the team I’m coaching right now is heading to the MLS Cup,” Ralston said. “My focus has, all along, been on trying to help this team prepare and to be able to win an MLS Cup.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com