By DAN KARELL
Despite hiring an inexperienced head coach to replace Jason Kreis, Real Salt Lake went for experience with four assistant coaching hires that know Major League Soccer inside and out.
RSL announced today that head coach Jeff Cassar has added Andy Williams, Daryl Shore, Craig Waibel, and Paul Dalglish as assistant coaches to round out his coaching staff. While Shore, Waibel, and Dalglish come from outside RSL, Williams most recently served as the club’s head scout.
“I’m very excited for Andy, Daryl, Paul and Craig to join me as assistants,” Cassar said in a statement. “Having such an experienced staff on board will help me in my first year as a head coach, and the unique characteristics that each of them bring to the table will help the team contend for another MLS Cup.
“Their backgrounds will also allow RSL to continue our unique position-specific coaching model, with Daryl primarily coaching the goalkeepers, Craig working with the defenders, Andy coaching the midfielders and Paul spending time with the forwards.”
Dalglish, Williams, and Waibel each played in MLS during their careers and have recently held other coaching jobs. Dalglish was the head coach of the PDL club Austin Aztecs, Waibel was an assistant with the Washington Huskies men’s soccer team, and Shore was the head coach of the Fort Lauderdale Strikers.
Here are some more stories from around MLS:
IRWIN RETURNS MOTIVATED FROM EVERTON TRAINING STINT
After a short trip to train with English Premier League club Everton, Colorado Rapids goalkeeper Clint Irwin says he feels inspired to continue to improve.
Training alongside U.S. Men’s National Team star Tim Howard and training with Everton goalkeeping coach Inaki Bergara, the young Rapids goalkeeper learned about the attention to detail and other aspects that separate those playing in the EPL every week from those playing in MLS.
“I didn’t think the level was a huge jump up from MLS,” Irwin told ColoradoRapids.com. “I think there are a lot of players from MLS who can slide in and do a good job there. But I think the quality is so good all the time there. The passes are sharp, the finishing is sharp, the ball doesn’t get turned over too many times, the people are very calm, there’s options on the ball. Just seeing that – those details and the focus associated with that – was good to see.”
The 24-year-old was one of the unexpected standouts for the Rapids last season, originally expected to backup goalkeeper Matt Pickens before replacing him after Pickens went down in the first game of the season with a broken left arm. Once made the starter, Irwin never gave it up. In his first season in MLS, Irwin started 31 of 32 games, recording 10 shutouts and making 91 saves.
“I wouldn’t say that I’m at that level, but it’s something to aspire to and that I can reach that level,” Irwin said of training with Everton. “That was sort of the feedback that I got. I don’t think I was discouraged by what I showed there. That gives you that extra appetite to reach those goals.”
CREW SIGN TWO HOMEGROWN TALENTS
For the third year in a row, the Columbus Crew have dipped into their local talent pool for a pair of signings.
The Crew announced today that they have inked defender Ross Friedman and midfielder Matt Walker to homegrown contracts, joining Matt Wiet as three homegrown signings this offseason. This gives the Crew seven homegrown players on their active roster, tied with FC Dallas for the most in the league.
“I think these signings are a tribute to our youth development system and the type of players this club and this region are capable of producing,” Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter said in a statement. “Matt Walker is a dynamic player that has the ability to turn in tight spaces and take players on one-on-one, and he fits the style that we want to play. Ross Friedman is a versatile player that can play a number of positions and has a tremendous work rate. Both players have good soccer minds, and they are strong additions to the first team.”
Both Friedman and Walker recently completed their senior season’s with their collegiate programs and are 22-years old. Friedman attended Harvard while Walker went to Xavier.
EARTHQUAKES TO FACE GALAXY IN INAUGURAL CENTRAL CALIFORNIA CUP
Building off the hype and results of the California Clasico each of the last two years, the San Jose Earthquakes and Los Angeles Galaxy have agreed to face off in the Central California Cup in Fresno, Calif.
The match, set for Feb. 15, will see the Galaxy travel up the coast to Chunkansi Park to meet the Earthquakes. It will be the second friendly match of the preseason for the Galaxy and third for the Earthquakes.
The Earthquakes also released the rest of their preseason schedule on Wednesday, with players reporting on Jan. 25 for medicals and the start of fitness training. The Earthquakes will travel to Tucson, Ariz., and Portland, Ore., for preseason tournaments, in addition to the Central California Cup match in Fresno.
DYNAMO TO TAKE PART IN CAROLINA CHALLENGE CUP
For the second consecutive year, the Houston Dynamo will be taking part in the Carolina Challenge Cup.
The Dynamo released their preseason schedule today, which includes a trip to Tucson, Ariz., (Feb. 4-10) and a trip to Charleston, S.C., to face D.C. United, the Seattle Sounders, and the Charleston Battery at the Challenge Cup (Feb. 22-Mar. 1). The Dynamo have a record of 5-2-2 in the tournament and won it in 2006 and 2007.
After players report for training on Jan. 27, the team will play a number of scrimmages against teams such as the Colorado Rapids, Vancouver Whitecaps, Portland Timbers, and San Jose Earthquakes before traveling to South Carolina.
What do you think of this news? Like RSL’s hires? Do you see Irwin developing into a top goalkeeper this season? What do you think of the Crew’s homegrown strategy?
Share your thoughts below.