D.C.'s Tom Soehn (right) is a Rapids candidate.
Tony Quinn/MLS/WireImage.com

Rapids pare down coaching search

Fernando Clavijo, who guided the New England Revolution from 2000-2002.

"After trimming down an extensive list of candidates that we put together with the help of soccer ambassador Marcelo Balboa, assistant coach Steve Trittschuh, and after talking to other teams' general managers and ownership groups, we reached the point that we can make public the names of six of the final candidates," Rapids Governor Charlie Wright said.

"These six coaches have proven themselves at the highest level of soccer on and off the field, both in the United States and often times abroad," Wright added. "We are confident that we will find among all of our candidates the head coach that will make this team a contender for MLS Cup for years to come and make our loyal fans proud of their team."

Clavijo most recently coached the Haitian national team, taking over the Revolution at the start of the 2000 season before being let go early in the 2002 campaign. Joining Clavijo on the list are three current MLS assistant coaches, including assistants from both of this year's MLS Cup finalists, and two former MLS assistants.

Kansas City Wizards assistant Brian Bliss threw his hat into the ring before the confetti had settled on MLS Cup 2004, which the Wizards lost to D.C. United. He said he feels he's ready to be the top man at an MLS club after assisting for five years and being the boss at an A-League club before then.

"With the international experience that I have, I think I've done the preparation work as a player, and now as a coach, to make myself eligible for the job, certainly qualified for the job," Bliss said.

D.C. United assistant coach Tom Soehn is in the mix as well. Soehn helped United win their fourth MLS Cup title two weeks ago, and prior to that, he was an assistant to both Dave Sarachan and Bob Bradley with the Chicago Fire, where he helped the team win both the Supporters' Shield and Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in 2003.

Another Fire assistant made the cut as well. Denis Hamlett, who played as a defender for the Rapids in 1996, has been an assistant coach for the Fire since 1998, helping the club to one MLS Cup title and three U.S. Open Cup championships.

Two former MLS assistants are also in the fray. Curt Onalfo was an assistant for D.C. United from 2000-2002 and currently serves as an assistant to Bruce Arena with the U.S. national team. Juan Carlos Osorio, who has been a conditioning and assistant coach with the English Premier League's Manchester City for the past four years, served in the same capacity with the MetroStars in 2000.

Jason Halpin is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.

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