Welp. Here we are again. We’ve been here before. And yet here we are again.
Every now and then an article concept thuds into the general consciousness again, forcing us all to address it. When that happens, the writers, bloggers and admins of the world stare for a moment at that concept, which has now become a live grenade hurtling towards its explosive state. Then a few of us, bravely and stupidly, offer to use our internet likenesses as shields for all the angry tweets, hurtful comments and hate letters written with surprising levels of penmanship.
What I’m saying here is, let’s choose the best-dressed MLS managers. Again.
Now you may be asking, what are my qualifications for doing this? For the second time?? How can I sit behind a keyboard and attempt to gauge the ability of middle-aged men to dress themselves when I’ve worn only sweatpants for the better part of eight months here? Especially when we all know that the true, authentic best-dressed MLS coach award is presented by the far more informed judges at The Call Up.
The answer is: I dunno. But you’re here. And I’m going to do my best to give you what you came for. I’m going to list the best-dressed MLS managers and I’m going to leave off your favorite. And even if I have them on the list, you know what I’m going to do? Even better than just listing them out, I’m going to put numbers by them. Are you angry about the numbers? Bet you won’t tweet about the numbers with a link to the article so other people can tweet about the numbers.
Now there are obviously a few pieces of criteria and caveats and all that for this rigorously researched article. The first thing that we need to acknowledge is a lack of team polos and tracksuits (or, horrifyingly, a combination of the two) is generally enough to get you on this list. Which, if we’re being honest about managerial fashion here, is enough to cut the field in half. If you’re dressed like a substitute PE teacher more often than not, that’s OK. It doesn’t determine your worth as a person or your ability to coach a soccer team, but you aren’t making the list.
The second thing we need to acknowledge then is that if your non-team polo, non-tracksuit attire skews more towards flustered substitute chemistry teacher than CEO, it does not determine your worth as a person or your ability to coach a soccer team, but you aren’t making the list.
The third and final thing to acknowledge is that if we’re all locking eyes and being open and honest here, it helps to be hot. I don’t know y’all, no real way around this one. You’ve either got it or you don’t. It’s just how the world works and it’s why some of us are soccer bloggers who don’t do video appearances.
Alright, without further stalling, here’s this thing people will definitely be totally normal about.
The first two guys on this list come with a caveat. The general idea is that you could have the single nicest car in the world, but if it doesn’t have a steering wheel, the car is just a set of parallel cramped benches. Gio Savarese found his aesthetic and steering wheel this offseason.
It doesn’t quite turn his look into a Ferrari. But it does make it a sensible, yet stylish sedan.
The most shocking thing about Greg Vanney’s sudden switch from Toronto to southern California is the outright rejection of the climate that made him one the league’s best-dressed come playoff time. The question is, where does he go from here?
I don’t doubt his ability to find ways to look sharp during the California summer without sacrificing comfort, but what happens when it’s 70 degrees in November and the Galaxy need a win on the scoreboard and in the hearts of the people? The potential death of the playoff scarf is one I’m not really ready to handle.
The lone newcomer on this list. I’ll be honest, I wish he would get away from the all-black palette from time-to-time and he should definitely launch the baseball cap into the Potomac, but, like I said folks, when you’ve got it, you’ve got it.
Pretty much the same bit just with more variety and slightly better hair. Sometimes the look veers slightly into “actor brought in to pretend to be a worker for Apple territory,” but most of the time it’s hard to argue with all this.
Curtin always makes these lists and I think it’s because it almost feels unexpected. He just seems like a guy who would have other things he’d be worried about, and maybe someone takes care of his gameday look for him. He not only brings a ton of variety, but is the coach most on the verge of being tossed in the substitute teacher category that overcomes that possible affliction by letting his fits – and, most importantly, his solid use of a narrow-to-skinny tie – speak for him.
Got to say it at the top, Robin has it. Maybe more than any coach in the league. That goes a long way, obviously, but he often pairs it so well with a catalogue of looks that are never audacious because he knows they don’t have to be. When you’ve got it, you can keep it simple and still present yourself as one of the best dressed in the league.
I think where Caleb succeeds most is his ability to recognize that there’s a lot of power in two things:
- A well-tailored look
- A look that never really repeats
You can find Porter with the same general aesthetic pretty often, but he never seems to bring out a combination he’s had before. Adding another MLS Cup ring also helps to improve the look.
Basically exactly what I said for Porter, but added points for doing it for over 11 years now and letting the fit show off how you apparently can bench-press a small car if asked. If any of us look half as good at 54, we need to count our blessings hourly.
A stunning omission from the last time I did this but today we correct a wrong and return to the good graces of Luchi Gang. Luchi thrives by eschewing the traditional best-dressed look by finding ways to work beyond and around a simple, well-tailored suit. Luchi dares to sport a sweater or a button-down buttoned all the way up mixed with a sport coat.
Where Porter and Vermes succeed in presenting a consistent aesthetic in numerous ways, Luchi strives to go further and place himself into a zone no other MLS manager would be brave enough to find themselves comfortable in. At times he misses. At times it’s clear that today wasn’t a day for Luchi to go beyond the team polo. But that’s okay, because Luchi knows that we’re on his time. And the best of trailblazers know when to make the people wait for the fire.
Unfortunately, Luchi couldn’t quite match up to...
THE CHAMPION. FOUR YEARS RUNNING.
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