Rumors: Philadelphia Union Closing in on New Coach
Reports over the last couple of days suggest that the Philadelphia Union are getting closer to finding a permanent replacement for the fired John Hackworth, who was relieved of his coaching duties on June 10th. He was replaced by assistant Jim Curtin, who has done a tremendous job in turning around the season for the Union in the interim.
The club has lost only twice since he took over and host Seattle on Tuesday in the Open Cup Final, the first ever for the fifth-year club. His performance has been noticed by many in the soccer community who wonder why he has not been given the job permanently. It would be a very popular move among the fans and, while it could still happen as he is a finalist for the job, it appears that they will be disappointed by the news that the club is very close to naming former Manchester United assistant Rene Meulensteen as coach.
While the move would be met with anger by many fans, his hire may not be a bad thing. Meulensteen is known as a technical and youth guru who would definitely help refine the skills of some key players. The Union also have a growing youth academy that has been stocked with some very talented players who would benefit from his time working with the Manchester United academy.
Meulensteen was one of legendary United manager Sir Alex Ferguson’s key men for several years. He has also had several head coaching jobs but struggled to find success,coaching clubs in the Middle East and Europe. While his head coaching resume leaves much to be desired he could still be a good hire for the Union.
Union CEO Nick Sakiewicz denied that the club had offered him the job, but confirmed that he is a finalist. The list also includes Curtin, who insisted he would be staying with the club no matter how the search ended. He has helped the club with the search and many feel the best and most logical scenario would be Meulensteen taking over as manager with Curtin his top assistant who would help him understand the rules and intricacies of American soccer.
Reports had suggested that Meulensteen might have been hired already if not for the excellent performance of the team under Curtin in both MLS play and the 2014 US Open Cup. The club will most likely wait until after the season or at least until they know their playoff fate to hire the new coach.