Remi Garde - Joey Saputo - Montreal Impact - speaking at introductory press conference
USA Today Sports

How have foreign coaches fared throughout MLS history?

After years of being dogged by questions of whether they could succeed in North America, foreign managers are suddenly very much in vogue in MLS.

Foreign coaches without prior experience in MLS didn’t fare all that well in the league’s early years, struggling to adapt to its unique intricacies and often flaming out within a couple of years. That trend has reversed in recent seasons as MLS clubs have built out their front offices, allowing executives to handle the more confounding league rules and letting managers worry less about the salary cap and more about their tactics and their teams.

Several international coaches without previous MLS experience had solid 2017 seasons, with Argentine Tata Martino leading Atlanta to an excellent expansion campaign, and Frenchman Patrick Vieira taking NYCFC to the playoffs for a second straight year. While they’ve been solid, to date, only two coaches without American or Canadian citizenship have ever won MLS Cup: Peter Nowak with D.C. in 2004 and Gary Smith with Colorado in 2010.

On Thursday, the Montreal Impact added to the ranks of international head coaches who hadn’t before worked in MLS when they named ex-French national teamer and former Aston Villa and Lyon manager Remi Garde as their new head man. He’ll hope to continue the recent trend of foreign managers succeeding in the league in 2018.

Current list of international coaches in MLS

Coach Club Tenure
Remi GardeMontreal2018 - present
Tata MartinoAtlanta2017 - present
Wilmer CabreraHouston2017 - present
Adrian HeathMinnesota2017 - present
Veljko PaunovicChicago2016 - present
Patrick VieiraNYCFC2016 - present
Oscar ParejaDallas2014 - present
Carl RobinsonVancouver2014 - present

All-time list of international coaches in MLS history

Does not include interim head coaches

Coach Club Tenure
Juan Carlos OsorioChicago2007
Carlos de los CobosChicago2010-2011
Hans WesterhofChivas USA2005
Jose Luis Sanchez SolaChivas USA2013
Jose Luis RealChivas USA2013
Bobby HoughtonColorado1996
Gary SmithColorado2008-2011
Timo LeikoskiColumbus1996
Robert WarzychaColumbus2009-2013
Ray HudsonD.C. United2001-2003
Piotr NowakD.C. United2004-2006
Collin ClarkeDallas2003-2006
Steve MorrowDallas2007-2008
Owen CoyleHouston2015-2016
Ron NewmanKansas City1996-1999
Lothar OsianderLA Galaxy1996-1997
Octavio ZambranoLA Galaxy1997-1999
Ruud GullitLA Galaxy2008
Carlos CordobaMiami1998
Ivo WortmannMiami1998-2000
Ray HudsonMiami2000-2001
Marco SchallibaumMontreal2013
Frank StapletonNew England1996
Walter ZengaNew England1999
Steve NicolNew England2002-2011
Eddie FirmaniNY/NJ MetroStars1996
Carlos QueirozNY/NJ MetroStars1996
Carlos Alberto ParreiraNY/NJ MetroStars1997
Alfonso MondeloNY/NJ MetroStars1998
Bora MilutinovicNY/NJ MetroStars1998-1999
Octavio ZambranoNY/NJ MetroStars2000-2002
Mo JohnstonNY Red Bulls2005-2006
Juan Carlos OsorioNY Red Bulls2008-2009
Hans BackeNY Red Bulls2010-2012
Adrian HeathOrlando2015-2016
Piotr NowakPhiladelphia2010-2012
John SpencerPortland2011-2012
Laurie CallowaySan Jose1996-1997
Brian QuinnSan Jose1997-1999
Lothar OsianderSan Jose1999-2000
Alfonso MondeloTampa Bay2001
Mo JohnstonToronto FC2007
John CarverToronto FC2008-2009
Aron WinterToronto FC2011-2012
Paul MarinerToronto FC2012
Ryan NelsenToronto FC2013-2014
Teitur ThordarsonVancouver2011
Martin RennieVancouver2011-2013

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