LEHI, Utah — There is little doubt that Martín Vásquez will be a key part of the US men’s national team while he serves on Jurgen Klinsmann’s revamped coaching staff, but the question remains: What happens with the Real Salt Lake Academy?
Vásquez was hired as the director of soccer operations for the club’s Arizona-based program in July after a six-month search following the departure of Greg Vanney.
The veteran coach, for his part, says he can stay focused on both fronts.
“Right now I’m focusing on the Real Salt Lake Academy,” Vasquez told MLSsoccer.com on Monday. “I think there are some commitments with the US national team and I think I’m going to continue to be part of that – of the staff of Mr. Jurgen Klinsmann. And when I’m not with the US national team, I’ll be focusing on my role here and continue with our season and our competition starting as soon as next weekend.”
Real Salt Lake general manager Garth Lagerwey said that Vásquez has expressed his interest in staying on with RSL, but there are still some discussions to be had about what that role will be.
“He has expressed to us that he would like to remain involved and we’ve expressed to him that once he works out what his status is going to be, that we will then have a conversation about what role for him there will be in the academy,” Lagerwey said.
However, working out “his status” is more about coming to terms with US Soccer to put to paper what Klinsmann has already said of his plans – to have Vásquez by his side as he builds his staff.
The situation leaves the future involvement of Vásquez with the RSL-AZ program a bit uncertain. In addition, the team recently lost Mike Muñoz, who played a key role in the success of the squad immediately following Vanney’s departure. Muñoz was named U-16 Coach of the Year for the US Development Academy league for the 2010-11 season.
However, according to Lagerwey, it’s important to settle the Vásquez situation prior to bringing in a replacement for Muñoz. And that’s entirely out of their control.
“It’s really not our decision,” Lagerwey said. “That’s a conversation between Martín and US Soccer. We’ve said our door is open. I think Martín’s done a great job for us.
“I think it would be awesome for us to have the national team assistant as a resource in terms of bringing our young players along and developing them,” he added. “What kid wouldn’t want to play in a system where you have RSL as one track and you have the national team as another?”