Soehn out as D.C. United head coach

Tom Soehn (

Tom Soehn will not be back as head coach of D.C. United after removing his name from consideration to be retained upon the conclusion of his current contract at the end of the calendar year.

D.C. United failed to make the playoffs for a second straight season, but it did enjoy success under Soehn, who helped guide the team to a Supporters Shield in 2007 and U.S. Open Cup title in 2008.

No word on who will replace Soehn but two names expected to be at the top of the list for consideration are current Red Bulls interim head coach Richie Williams and former Kansas City Wizards head coach Curt Onalfo. Former U.S. national team captain and D.C. United standout John Harkes is also expected to be in the mix.

What do you think of this development? Think it was time for Soehn to go, or did you feel he deserved more time? Who do you want D.C. to hire as his replacement?

Share your thoughts below.

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93 Responses to Soehn out as D.C. United head coach

  1. Dave says:

    Ives, do think John Harkes is cut out for being a head coach?

  2. gmen04 says:

    Hopefully RBNY doesnt screw this up and allow Williams to head south

  3. keep says:

    EL DIABLO!!!!!! where are ya Marco????

  4. Beckster says:

    Absolutely great news. Couldn’t be happier. Nice guy and wish him the best but he just wasn’t the right guy for the job. Would like to see Preki, Richie Williams, Curt Olfano (Sp?)

  5. HireHarkes says:

    John Harkes. He’s the rare combination of American player, with MLS experience, who has played extensively the highest level in Europe and for his country. If he wants the job, it should be his (unless Bruce wants to come home).

  6. dena says:

    Don’t screw this up Red Bull….

  7. Robert says:

    About time. DCU needs a change in direction. I would pick up Preki if he became available. MLS needs this team to get back to winning ways.

  8. Shank says:

    YES!!!!!!!! I heart Richie Williams from when he was a player here, but I don’t think this is quite right for him. I think Preki might work out here too, Beckster….

  9. Nick says:

    DCU should look at in order,


    Harkes, and


    Outside of that group, If DCU brings someone in from Europe or elsewhere they need either Harkes or Williams as their top assistant.

  10. Agreed. He should be available & he’s got a good track record as an MLS coach.

  11. CSD says:

    I am guessing Soehn won’t be interviewing for any MLS marketing jobs after his comments a couple of weeks ago.

    This decision had to made by DC. Retaining him would have really alienated most of their fan base.

  12. Shraf says:

    Jim Zorn!

  13. Tony in Quakeland says:

    Anything that gets Harkes out of the broadcast booth.

    “Should have done better. Still, did well.”

    Repeat thirty times a game

  14. JCO's agent says:

    Juan Carlos Osorio is available for you guys

  15. oye says:

    NOT John Harkes…pleeeeeeeeeease. Anyone remember the job he did as DCU Youth Director…or NYRB asst coach?… The guy’s ego is five times the size of his coaching ability.

  16. Peter in NJ says:

    I agree. Red Bull do not screw this up.

    Have to give Richie a chance.

  17. Matt Mathai says:

    And his coaching credentials are….?

  18. Franky says:

    John O’Brien!!!!

  19. DC Josh says:

    Sad to see him go. He was on the coaching staff for 6 consecutive seasons and won 4 trophies.

    I don’t think he is the main problem, that lies in the age and makeup of the team. But he was a source of many losses. We had no continuity in the starting XI from game to game. Time to find a XI that work together, and stick to it.

    I’ll be glad to have a season without international competitions hampering fitness and health.

    Gimme Williams or Preki, and keep Harkes as far away from broadcasting as possible.

  20. Peter in NJ says:

    Agrred! Also applies to Rob Stone, Alexi Lalas and Julie Foudy.

  21. OmarVizquel says:

    “Should have done better. Still, did well.” Hahaha

  22. Aaron in StL says:

    Agree about getting him out of the booth. But if it means Balboa ends up back in there or Kyle Martino gets promoted – then god no! Those two are terrible.

  23. Tuscan says:

    Suddenly TFC’s coach-hunt gets an early candidate. With MoJo The Cursed demanding MLS experience as criteria #1, I don’t think you can get much more experienced at coaching a solid club than Soehn. Sure the guy didn’t get much success beyond the Open Cup, but hell, neither did Cummins at TFC.

  24. Judging Amy says:

    Richie Williams or Preki. I think Richie would be a great choice if he doesn’t take/isn’t offered the NYRBs job. I think hiring Harkes is a very questionable move based on his lack of coaching credentials. DC needs someone with experience to oversee the rebuilding process.

  25. Aaron in StL says:

    Harkes that is.

  26. Willardo says:

    The same as Peter Novak’s were.

  27. Section 211 says:

    Well, at least in the case of Bruce…

    As for Harkes – good golly! All of the aforementioned experience didn’t make him capable of managing youth sides effectively.

    I would take Soehn in a heartbeat before the overhyped Williams, Onalfo or Harkes. One hopes that we don’t waste this opportunity with a retread.

  28. EDB says:

    I think tommy is getting a raw deal. I think he did well especially given that he can’t just play bunker ball like a majority of the league does to get results.

  29. pepe says:

    How about someone that can actually coach. We keep recycling the same losers from team to team. MLS runs same as the government.

  30. Rafael says:

    As a United fan, this is not a good decision. United has played too many matches in the past 2 years. I just hope this doesn’t come back and bite United. Our GM better get ready to look for a job as well if we don’t get a competitive roster.

  31. Tony in Quakeland says:

    I like Kyle Martino. He makes more observations in a single game than Harkes has done in a season.

  32. GLS says:

    As everyone seems to think, Williams and Preki would be great candidates. A big fat NO to Harkes.

    Ives, I don’t know the deal with MLS contracts or hiring, especially with regard to interim coaches, but could DC United offer the job to Williams before RBNY, allowing Williams to choose which job rather than waiting to see whether Red Bull decides to offer him the job full-time? Or is that the kind of thing that would require compensation, a la JCO leaving Chicago?

  33. Judging Amy says:

    I think that’s a little unfair. For a young league MLS has got some good coaches. Sigi, Dom Kinnear, Steve Nichol, Preki, Bruce Arena, Bob Bradley a few years ago (say what you want about BB on the NT but you’re crazy if you don’t think he was a good MLS coach). It takes experience and time to build up good coaches. Especially since most of them need to be American as MLS teams don’t have the cash to bring in top foreign talent.

  34. RLW2020 says:

    future coach of TFC or Chicago.

    I personally like BB as the US coach, but after the WC he probably will take on a new task outside of the USMNT and wouldn’t it be great to have him back in MLS, coaching anywhere!

  35. so when are you guys putting Jaime Moreno out to pasteur?

  36. bryan says:

    while i support this and thank tommy for his time, i still think DC United needs to clean house. too many 30+ players.

  37. Forrest says:

    My first two choices would be Richie Williams and John Spencer in that order. Both times Williams has taken over at NY you have seen an immediate improvement in a not very talented team. Spencer is an assistant to the best head coach in MLS. Between that and his playing experience he his worth a shot before retreads like Preki who plays very defensive(really starting in a 4-5-1 in your “home” playoff leg) or Onalfo.

  38. scott says:

    i see harkes as a guy who loves to criticize/critique players from the broadcast booth, but probably won’t take that same criticism well as a coach.

    that’s just my opinion

  39. inkedAG says:

    Yes! DC, please take a chance on the tactical genius that is Juan Carlos Osorio. And as you know, players are lining up to play for him, so you guys have a shot! :)

  40. ELAC says:

    Preki would be perfect for you guys.

  41. galloway84 says:

    I hope Denis Hamlett would be the next coach unemployed joining Tom Soehn. I rather have Soehn than Hamlett. Hamlett gets outcoached and messes up the lineup.

  42. Andrew says:

    I thought Soehn did a good job with United. Before Seattle they were the most consistently fun-to-watch side in MLS. One way we will really be able to gauge MLS’ progress is by the number of teams playing attractive football rather than bunker ball.

  43. Hopper says:

    Harkes was an assistant to Sigi Schmid for the US U-20 team a few years ago, and also was an assistant at New York while Bruce Arena was there.

  44. DC Josh says:

    I miss Nowak.

  45. mwc says:

    All four of those “broadcasters” are terrible. I would add in Max Bretos to that list, too. “Yeeeeeaaassss!” Really? Is that the best you came up with? As to Harkes, I always wanted him out of the tv booth, but not not to coach my team. How about it NYRB? El Diablo is coaching in Bolivia, I think. Maybe he’d come back.

  46. Michael F. - SBI Mafia Original says:

    Why does everyone think Preki wants out of Chivas? What am I missing?

  47. Tony in Quakeland says:

    It’s not him. It’s that Jorge Vergara suddenly realized that Preki isn’t a Mexican name.

  48. baquito alyeska says:


  49. Gilby says:

    It’s not that Preki wants out its that the ownership is not enamored with him. I think Preki would be a good choice for DCU. If not then I would go with John Spencer he’s a talented assistant and better than many of the retreads that will be mentioned.

  50. Josh.2 says:

    Kyle Martino quit playing?

  51. Josh.2 says:

    Totally agree with you. I used to be a huge DC fan when I was younger, but got tired of standing in the rain and watching crappy soccer. Then I watched them against Real Madrid over the summer and was like damn, they are actually playing. Of all the MLS teams, DC is the one for me that actually tries and plays the game like it’s supposed to be played. Too bad he felt he had to leave. I think maybe the owners should have had bigger balls and convinced him to stay. Most MLS teams, beside the crappy salary cap, have a problem with consistency. They should keep good coaches and try to build a dynasty a la Arsenal. Especially since you can’t get relegated, you have a little window to build a good product. DC already has a huge fan base.

  52. Austin F says:

    Ives, what are your thoughts on the possibilities of Nowak putting Soehn on his coaching staff as an assistant manager at Philly?

  53. DCFAN says:


  54. Dannyc58 says:

    Goff’s article bout Soehn’s record when he had a week to prepare was interesting. He will get a job and be sucessful In my opinion.

  55. Shot in the dark... says:

    What about an interim coach for next season, then hire Bob Bradley after the World Cup when he finishes his cycle…

  56. jloome says:

    Soehn was well over .500, won the supporter’s shield (to many of us, the most important title, because it takes a whole season of games) in one year and the open cup the next.

    I guess if it’s not the playoff finals, DC fans aren’t happy.

  57. 3VIL L33T says:

    Juan Carlos Osorio would fit well in DC and might get them back in the final next season

  58. Matt Mathai says:

    Nowak really was an exceptional case. He was very much a coach for Chicago while he was still a player. I really liked Harkes as a player, but he wasn’t that kind of leader and mentor, so far as I’ve been able to tell.

    Reactions to his coaching stints have also been very mixed.

  59. Will C. says:

    But he led his team to the US OPEN CUP title and SUPPORTER’S SHIELD! This is unfair.

  60. Matt Mathai says:

    Yup, I hated Martino as a player, but love him as a commentator.

    Another one I like is Brian Dunseth. Once you get past his rather high, thin voice (most non-announcerish) he says good, thoughtful stuff for the most part.

  61. d1ddy says:

    You could argue he never really started playing…

  62. Chris says:

    Please don’t be John Harkes, Please don’t be John Harkes, Please don’t be John Harkes, Please don’t be John Harkes, Please don’t be John Harkes!!!!! He may have been a good player, but when it comes to soccer he is a dumb ass!

  63. Nats says:

    They should hire a foreign coach from South America. Williams, Onalfo, and Harkes are not good enough. I’ve known Soehn was not good enough for two years.

  64. euroman says:

    No manager will be sucessful until Payne and Kasper go and they aren’t going any where. This is just like the Redskin…the problem isn’t the coach it’s upper management. DCU will continue to underachieve as long as these two are in place.

  65. matt says:

    this is a guy with chicago connections big time wouldnt be the hard too see him with the fire if hammy gets his walking papaers which hopefully if the fire lose sat will come monday morning

  66. casadelqueso says:

    Had to happen. Soehn was a good guy, but we were never going to be any better than mediocre with him. Looking forward to the Richie Williams era.

  67. JavaLavaJoe says:

    No Harkes! Bring in Ritchie…much better fit. John Harkes is Ray Hudson without class…just ask Wynalda.

  68. JavaLavaJoe says:

    :-) Made me laugh!

  69. Brian “Chicken Wings” Dunseth?

  70. I think Soehn would be a good candidate for the Toronto job. He would know how to use that midfield they have.

  71. Beaker says:

    When he becomes an 19th century French microbiologist.

  72. Adam says:

    I get tired of hearing this DC played too many games excuse. Houston plays just as many games and they are one of the top teams every year. Soehn was a great guy but should have done better. You want a coach that wins trophies and that means you will always be playing a lot of games. Therefore you need to figure out how to deal with it, and DC with Soehn has not handled it well.

  73. Matt Mathai says:

    Sorry, I don’t get the ‘Chicken Wings’ reference. Maybe Brian isn’t his first name? This is the guy who used to play for NE.

  74. Martek says:

    I would hate to lose him here in Houston, but John Spencer would be a great fit at DC United as a head coach.

  75. best response in the history.

  76. Erek says:

    Haha, we’re not as dumb as we think you are!!

  77. scott47a says:

    If you are concerned about lineup changes, you probably want to avoid Preki.

    That guy changes lineups more than any coach in the league. Can anyone believe he broke out a 4-5-1 in the playoffs when he his team hadn’t played that way in a while?

    Preki is a good defensive-minded coach, but he is a relentless tinkerer.

  78. scott47a says:

    Onalfo is a punk.

  79. jtd says:

    it’d be a dream if they hired preki. a return to glory days for sure!

  80. He is the play by play that says something like, “a little chicken wing action there” in reference to elbows up. Those comments made it to England where some friends of mine think it is funny naive American thing.

  81. Todd says:

    The should definitely hire a South American coach, since they play the South American style. I wouldn’t mind Jose Perkerman. You think they spend the cash on him?

  82. Todd says:

    Goff is also reporting that Thomas Dooley is in the mix

  83. Todd says:

    And Earnie Stewart

  84. madmax says:

    Should have played ‘bunker ball’ and ‘disruptive soccer’ aka ‘hack attack’, all very popular in MLS.

  85. Andre says:

    Harkes was the pride of NJ and an amazing player, but for anyone who thinks he would be a good coach…his former teammates (not only Wynalda!), players, and coaches would probably differ (strongly). There is a reason teams have NOT been knocking at his door. I would bet anything that Richie Williams will be the next head coach of DC United if RBNY pass on him.

  86. Brian says:

    Highly doubt Dooley or Earnie get the job. Dooley is a player development manager for some youth club in California and Earnie is the tech. direct at NAC Breda.

  87. NJRB Fan says:

    Give Harkes the job. Then we won’t have to listen to him anymore on ESPN whine and cry!

  88. harrybalsac says:

    sort of like they scoff at the concept of dental hygiene.

  89. Matt Mathai says:

    Ah, thanks. Hadn’t heard that. In the couple of games I heard him do color commentary on, he was excellent. He made non-obvious observations, actually helped explain the game and situation, and showed that we can hope for better than the bottom feeding Christian Miles and Max Bretos.

  90. Matt Mathai says:

    Per Steve Goff’s blog:

    United had a full week to prepare for a game only 14 times this year; the rest of the league averaged 23. In those games, United had a 8-3-3 record. Colorado, for instance, apparently had a week of practice 26 times and went 10-9-7. Chivas 19 (11-4-4), Columbus 23 (12-3-8), Houston 20 (7-6-7) and Chicago 21 (6-4-11).