With Curt Onalfo formally announced as the new head coach of the LA Galaxy and Pablo Mastroeni re-signed in Colorado, the 2017 MLS managerial group is all but officially set.
What exactly does the league’s cast of 22 head coaches look like? Let’s take a peek:
Youth is served
The age of current MLS head coaches skews pretty young, with the league’s 22 managers clocking in at an average of just of 44-years-old.
Three head coaches are still in their 30s, with 37-year-old Philadelphia Union manager Jim Curtin edging out a pair of 39-year-olds, Chicago Fire boss Veljko Paunovic and D.C. coach Ben Olsen, for the title of youngest head coach in MLS. Oddly enough, two of the league's three oldest head coaches lead MLS newest clubs. Minnesota manager Adrian Heath, 55, is the oldest manager in MLS, while Atlanta head coach Tata Martino is 54, just a few months younger than Seattle's Brian Schmetzer.
American influence, international flavor
The majority of the league’s head coaches – 15, to be exact – are American or Canadian, but there’s some significant international influence in the coaching ranks.
Four of the seven coaches from outside North America are European, a group that includes Paunovic (Serbia), Heath (England), New York City FC’s Patrick Vieira (France) and Vancouver’s Carl Robinson (Wales). The remaining three hail from South America, with Martino coming to Atlanta from Argentina and two Colombians – Oscar Pareja and Wilmer Cabrera – managing Dallas and Houston, respectively.
Of the 15 managers that are from North America, only one – Montreal’s Mauro Biello – is Canadian. The remaining 14 are American, though Mastroeni (Argentina), Onalfo (Brazil) and San Jose’s Dom Kinnear (Scotland) were all born outside the States before moving to the US at an early age.
Two coaches each are from California (Kinnear and Toronto’s Greg Vanney), Michigan (Caleb Porter and Jeff Cassar) and Pennsylvania (Curtin and Olsen), with four (Curtin, Kinnear, Schmetzer and New England’s Jay Heaps coaching their hometown clubs.
All 22 current MLS head coaches played professionally, with 16 of the 22 spending at least one year playing in MLS.
Former D.C. midfielder Olsen, longtime Rapids captain Mastroeni, Orlando head coach and former Dallas and RSL striker Jason Kreis and New York Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch had four of the more distinguished MLS careers out of the current crop of coaches. Vieira had unquestionably the best career of the group, with the dominant midfielder winning a World Cup with France and becoming a club legend with Arsenal during his decorated time as a player.
Nine head coaches – Mastroeni, Olsen, Onalfo, Biello, Heaps, Kinnear, Pareja, Schmetzer and Sporting KC’s Peter Vermes – at one point played for the teams they currently manage. Schmetzer and Biello played for their respective clubs before they made the jump to MLS, while Vermes is the only man to ever win an MLS Cup with one team as both a player and a coach.
Have you ever been experienced?
MLS coaches run the gamut in terms of previous coaching experience, with several coming into their current jobs after decades of prior managerial work and a total of 12 taking their current gigs without ever before having served as head coach of a first-team professional outfit.
Martino has the most notable experience of any MLS coach, having previously managed Barcelona and the Argentine and Paraguayan national teams. Schmetzer also had plenty of work before taking over the Sounders gig, had more than 15 years of coaching experience – including seven seasons as head coach of the old USL Sounders – before getting the Seattle job in July.
Vermes is the longest tenured coach in the league, having served as SKC manager since he took over for Onalfo midway through the 2009 season. Olsen, who also took over from Onalfo after the current Galaxy manager was fired by D.C. in 2010, has been in his post second-longest.
Full list of MLS head coaches
Atlanta United – Gerardo “Tata” Martino
Chicago Fire – Veljko Paunovic
Columbus Crew SC – Gregg Berhalter
Colorado Rapids – Pablo Mastroeni
D.C. United – Ben Olsen
FC Dallas – Oscar Pareja
Houston Dynamo – Wilmer Cabrera
LA Galaxy – Curt Onalfo
Minnesota United – Adrian Heath
Montreal Impact – Mauro Biello
New England Revolution – Jay Heaps
New York City FC – Patrick Vieira
New York Red Bulls – Jesse Marsch
Orlando City – Jason Kreis
Philadelphia Union – Jim Curtin
Portland Timbers – Caleb Porter
Real Salt Lake – Jeff Cassar
San Jose Earthquakes – Dom Kinnear
Seattle Sounders – Brian Schmetzer
Sporting Kansas City – Peter Vermes
Toronto FC – Greg Vanney
Vancouver Whitecaps – Carl Robinson