| Friday, September 14, 2001 24:15 EST
Mutiny look for 'ultimate hire'
By Jeff Bradley
[ESPN The Magazine]
It was perhaps the strangest press release in MLS history ... Tampa Bay GM Bill Manning sending out for public consumption the "six characteristics" he was looking for in making the "ultimate hire" to coach the Mutiny in 2001.
If you missed it, here's the list in its entirety.
1. Someone with a forceful personality who can motivate players and communicate effectively with people over and under his command.
2. A young person with pro and head coaching experience.
3. Someone with soccer savvy and basic intelligence.
4. Someone whose blood hasn't been colored by another organization, who will consider the Mutiny his family and not just another line on his resume.
5. A believer in the organization's structure: The GM acquires the talent, the coach coaches and the two minds meet privately to form one public view - the Mutiny's view.
6. The ability to deal with the media.
You read along and it's all pretty much basic stuff and then, No. 5 hits you like a ton of bricks. You see what it says, but I translated into this: The GM acquires the talent, the coach coaches and ... the coach is not to blame the GM if the players don't pan out.
I also had a ton of questions for Manning. Like, do you go to training every day? Are you in the locker room regularly? He answered those questions, "No" and "no." So, I asked, don't you think you come off kind of heavy-handed?
"On paper, now, I can see I didn't word it properly," Manning said when asked who in the world would want to coach under such a GM. "Basically, I put it out there because I don't want to put myself in a position again where I make a decision only to be undermined by a coach. What I really want is a coach who is ready to work with me. I need a two-way street. I can't have a coach who is not on board with my involvement."
Manning admitted that his guard is still up because ex-Mutiny coach Tim Hankinson publicly questioned him after the GM traded Raul Diaz Arce to D.C. United without the coach's consent. "I guess I'm still stung a bit by the way that was handled," Manning said. "The way it was all aired in public."
Obviously, it stung quite a bit because Manning fired Hankinson at the end of a season where the Mutiny finished just five points (and just one win) off the best record in the league. Which takes us back to No. 5 on Manning's list. If the GM acquires the talent and the coach coaches ... who's going to be blamed this time if it doesn't work out?
Auf wieder sehen, Lothar
This week, MLS teams were required to cut down the number of Senior International players on their roster from four to three to get in line with 2001 rules. One team that seemed to be in a bind was the MetroStars, who finished the year with Lothar Matthaeus, Adolfo Valencia, Roy Myers and Alex Comas on their team sheet. However, when the list came in to the MLS offices with the word "retired" next to Matthaeus' name, the problem appeared to be solved, only without any official word that Lothar had quit.
"Actually, Lothar expressed to me on our trip to Germany that he was interested in playing another season for us," said MetroStars GM Nick Sakiewicz, "but I told him we were going to be tight on the cap, and unless he was willing to play for about $100,000, I didn't think it was going to be in the cards. He comes out of contract on November 15."
As for the other three Senior Internationals on their roster, Sakiewicz said the Metros were going to renew their contracts. "I wouldn't look for any major changes on our roster for next year," Sakiewicz said. "We're going to try to keep pretty much the same team."
Odds and ends
Green Card Applications are going to be the talk of the offseason, not only for stars who have applied, like Peter Nowak and Marco Etcheverry, but for foreign journeymen like Geoff Aunger and young foreign players like Sergi Daniv.
The MetroStars are going to announce their "Stadium Game Plan" in the next several weeks. They will not announce a location or even a city, but they will unveil an "economic feasibility study" and perhaps some stadium design drawings. "We are not looking for anyone to build us a stadium," says GM Nick Sakiewicz, "we are looking for a partnership on a project that we think is going to be great for the right city."
Look for the two coaching vacancies in the league to shake out like this:
In Tampa, U.S. Under-17 coach John Ellinger has moved into the lead ahead of former Metro coach Alfonso Mondelo. Not to worry for Mondelo, however, as he has moved into the lead for the Dallas job.
Hot stove talk
Last Friday's waiver draft was a non-event, as expected, but here's some analysis anyway.
The MetroStars were willing to drop three picks in the draft (from 10 to 13) to pick up the ageless Francis Okaroh from San Jose. Okaroh gives the Metros a veteran defender on the bench to replace retiring Thomas Dooley.
San Jose, meanwhile, has so many draft picks coming to them they may just fill an entire 19-man roster with players from this year's SuperDraft. Problem is, the Quakes' management team may be turning over soon, so it's yet to be seen who'll be calling the shots when the draft takes place.
Chicago selected Seth George, basically, because they have traded away virtually all of their picks for the SuperDraft and have holes to fill with the defection of Ante Razov and the retirement of Sam George and Tommy Soehn. In other words, Seth G. looked a lot better than what they'll see in Rounds 3-5 of the draft.