Before we get into this, let’s talk about my qualifications for creating these rankings.
- I looked at a copy of GQ in a waiting room once;
- I am subscribed to that “Male Fashion Advice” subreddit that I ignore and never look at.
So, based on that, you should know right off the bat that I only got asked to do this because...I don’t know, I’m probably the only person available under 25?
You should also know that I’m right.
Now, it’s important to note that somewhere over the last 15 years, a shift occurred in touchline style. Sideline chic diverged into two camps of success: You either look fully prepared to reveal that you are in fact wearing a kit underneath your layers and could sprint onto the pitch to take over in central midfield at any moment (i. e. Jurgen Klopp), OR you look fully prepared to sub in for a J. Crew mannequin with a startling lack of transitional issues (i.e. Pep Guardiola).
Fortunately for the aesthetic energy of MLS, almost every coach took the J. Crew model path most traveled. All of this doesn’t excuse the number of sweaters over button-downs under blazers I had to look at, but I guess it does make it understandable.
What you have then when ranking the fits of MLS managers is a lack of variance. Which in turn means that having a “gimmick” or anything that makes you stand out in any way is going to push you to the top of the list. There are no extra points for being inherently better looking or exhibiting a raw animal magnetism. We are looking at style.
These 6 managers didn’t make the Top 5. However, they at least showed a distinct enough flair to have a describable aesthetic. And they didn’t just like, wear team polos all the time. Which I guess counts as an “aesthetic.” But like. Come on. You know who you are. Chris.
Remember, all these guys are still far better dressed than you and me in most instances.
Ron Jans (FC Cincinnati)
The "Efficient Yet Surprisingly Trendy Dad" (This is a compliment.)
Frank de Boer (Atlanta United)
The "Guy Who is Way Cooler Outside of Work" (Also a compliment.)
FdB is stuck with the (admittedly fantastic) team-issued suit for most games. But get the man out in the wild and…
GOT DANG. #FreeFdB
Ben Olsen (D.C. United)
The "Third-Best-Dressed Person at This Christening." *
Bob Bradley (LAFC)
The "Has Not Once Said a Word at This Book Club Meeting." *
* = Both Olsen and Bradley were very, very close to making the Top 5 and are better dressed than I will ever imagine myself to be.
Giovanni Savarese (Portland Timbers)
The "Relative At This Wedding Who Least Wanted to Be Here"
Adrian Heath (Minnesota United)
The "Keeps Asking You to Come On His Boat. It’s Unclear If He Actually Has a Boat."
The Top 5
5. Matias Almeyda (San Jose Earthquakes)
Style isn’t just about the fit.
Sure, Almeyda wears pretty much the same thing every game. Sure, at times he becomes a bit...disheveled. Sure, his tie is often far too wide to be even remotely acceptable in 2019. But why are you even looking at that? Why would yo--Oh you were already looking at the hair? Yeah, me too. If Olsen or Bradley had the courage to grow their hair out to Pantene-level quality they might have been here.
4. Jim Curtin (Philadelphia Union)
No, seriously. Jim Curtin is the style equivalent of a midfielder that the average fan rails against for not banging in goals or delivering assists, but keen-eyed fans know covers more ground than anyone and makes every aspect of the team’s tactics possible. On first glance, you aren’t getting much from Jim. But as you dive into the catalog, you notice something.
The man gives effort. There is a consistent commitment to adding color and a refusal to repeat combinations. Vanna White has never worn the same dress on Wheel of Fortune over 37 years and Jim Curtin has never repeated a managerial outfit. I’m almost positive this is true.
How many managers have ever worn light blue pants on the touchline? One (probably). That’s Jim Curtin. This placement is an acknowledgment of effort. Curtin is fashion Rudy Reuttiger. We should all be inspired.
3. Robin Fraser (Colorado Rapids)
Well, this is one of the newest managers in the league. I don’t know much about him. Let’s just take a look and see if he has any sense of ... OHYMGOD.
Ok, remember how I said we weren’t going to judge based on looks? I don’t know what to tell you here. Dude could have been wearing Crocs. The fact he’s not even remotely trying is just unfair. If you’ve got it, you’ve got it.
That may fade as he gets older, but for now Fras--HE’S 53??????????
2. Peter Vermes (Sporting Kansas City)
Get a tailor. Hit the gym. Thrive. Dare to Vermes.
- TATA MARTINO WINS AGAIN!!
1. Greg Vanney (Toronto FC)
Who knows what. A shift in plate tectonics? A change in the Earth’s magnetism? T-Pain winning The Masked Singer? A combination of all three? We won’t ever know. But over the last year, Vanney made choices that undoubtedly altered the course of Toronto’s season.
Already well dressed, Vanney let his hair grow long. He made a bold commitment to scarves. His beard became more rugged, more pronounced. His eyes more steeled, more confident. His posture improved. I’m unsure which of these I’m making up. What’s important though is that Vanney had what the children call a “glow up.” And that led to success.
You can’t tell me their 2019 MLS Cup run doesn’t happen without it. Even he credited the lucky scarf. Come on, like this happens without something bigger at play:
And for that reason, Vanney wins these completely undisputable rankings. Because growth should be celebrated. And scarves are in.