HOUSTON — The name Tab Ramos was tossed around over the years as an MLS coaching candidate, but all were just rumors until now. After developing some of the country's best young players as head coach of the United States U-20s, Ramos has taken a new challenge as head coach with the Houston Dynamo — an opportunity that presented itself at the perfect time.
Ramos has been in the business for many years, first as a player, then as a U-20 assistant and later as head coach, as well as a men’s youth technical director for US Soccer.
The US senior team missing the 2018 World Cup changed things for Ramos, and he decided to finally give MLS a shot. He says he couldn’t be happier for the chance.
“I feel good about coaching a professional team. I get an opportunity to be with the team every day and live with the team every day,” said Ramos. “The national team I think is more difficult because its sporadic times and you have guys coming in from all over the world and you have to make them a team in seven days and go play a game, so I am much happier in this environment.”
It’s no easy task Ramos has in front of him. Houston have missed the playoffs five times in the last six seasons including each of the last two, and has had difficulties filling up BBVA Stadium.
As if debuting as an MLS head coach wasn’t enough pressure, Ramos and the Dynamo are facing the star-studded LA Galaxy in their season opener on Saturday (3:30 pm ET | Univision, TUDN | Twitter, MLS LIVE on DAZN in Canada) — the club that just signed Mexican superstar Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez. Still, with all that included, Ramos says he is happy-nervous like he would be for any other match.
“Good-nervous just because I get nervous every time I coach a game because you never know what’s going to happen in a game,” said Ramos. “There are so many factors, so many variables but I feel good where we are, I feel good about the way we’ve trained and I feel good about how we have prepared for this game. So from that sense, I think I will sleep at least a little bit.”
Developing players is an ongoing process. Players can learn new abilities no matter where they are in their careers. In that respect, Ramos is hoping the skills he acquired during his time with U.S. Soccer will work to his benefit in his new role as Houston's coach.
“You know, we have young players here so we continue to develop players, obviously it’s a professional team but you always try to make the players better so player development never ends,” said Ramos.
His first challenge awaits against the Galaxy, a true test of all that preseason work.