Real Salt Lake fans, hang in there. Our love for the club and crest are well known and well documented. The last couple of years have been real trying on all of us, but through it all we have stuck together and showed up for our team. With news that Freddy Juarez has stepped down from his role as interim head coach, there are more and more unanswered questions around who the new owner(s) will be and what the future of Real Salt Lake looks like. The unknown can feel scary at times.
This article is meant to be light hearted and fun, we all need a little bit of that in our lives right now. So I am breaking down my top 5 “semi-realistic” options to replace Freddy. This list isn’t exhaustive, and it isn’t even well researched. So grab your favorite beverage, grab a comfy seat and let the waves of optimism wash over you, that maybe just maybe the future will be brighter than the past.
The Long Shot - Frank Lampard
Frank Lampard has both coaching experience and played in MLS and is currently unemployed. While his time as head coach at Chelsea was mediocre at best, especially given what they have gone on to accomplish without him, who wouldn’t love to get a big name like Lampard’s into the club?
He has connections all over Europe, he has name recognition among current players, and it would be a hell of a thing to have Frank Lampard walking the streets of downtown Salt Lake. He’s my long shot choice, fight me.
Runner up for long shot choice, Andrea Pirlo
Keeping it in CONCACAF - Miguel Herrera
For those who know me, I have been beating this drum for years. Miguel Herrera is a regional coach with loads of experience, well known and well liked amongst the Mexican international players and has that chutzpah that you love to see in a head coach.
He is currently the head coach of Tigres UANL, one of the perennial powerhouses in all of CONCACAF so the only way we’re getting him is if we show up with a dump truck of money. Given that we don’t have an owner, yet, this would likely have to happen after that little issue is resolved.
That being said, maybe the prospects of a big pay day, succeeding in MLS, and rubbing it in the face of Matías Almeyda is just enough to get this guy into the RSL fold. It would be a spectacle for the ages.
The One That Got Away - Landon Donovan
RSL was so close to signing Landon Donovan as a winger a few years back. Unfortunately some legal mumbo-jumbo connected to the collective bargaining agreement caused the league to put a big old nix to that effort. Well that doesn’t mean those two paths can’t cross again, with Landon becoming the head coach of RSL. He is after all already coaching at the USL level for the San Diego Loyal.
As part owner of the club, I think he loves San Diego and is very happy there, so interest might be an absolute zero, but hey, he was willing to come here as a player, why not as a coach? Plus this is my article and we are in the land of make believe so chill.
The Captain - Kyle Beckerman
Kyle Beckerman is an RSL man through and through. He captained the team for over a decade, pouring his blood, sweat and tears into the success of the club. His loyalty to Utah and to RSL are well documented. We also know he wants to coach, as evidenced by his current role as head coach of the UVU men’s soccer team.
He only has one match under his belt as a HC, with UVU’s season just getting underway this week, but experience has never been a requirement of the RSL head coaching job. For the reasons listed above, you can’t ignore that this is a real option, assuming he’d want the role.
The Interim - Pablo Mastroeni
Who would’ve thought that someday in the distant future, the primary antagonist of the Rocky Mountain Cup rivalry would become the interim head coach of RSL. Of course we are talking about Pablo Mastroeni. He has just accepted the role as interim head coach for RSL due to Freddy’s departure. If we’ve learned anything about RSL over the last decade is that we love promoting from within (see, Jason Kreis, Jeff Cassar, Mike Petke, Freddy Juarez) and Pablo is just another guy being called up from within the existing ranks.
Assuming the new owner(s) like him, he could very likely be your new head coach for the next couple of years. Would we be okay with that?
Well I hope that was fun for you all, and maybe it got the gears turning at the endless possibilities of what the future holds for RSL. I am an optimist by nature and choose to think that the future is bright. We’ll just need to continue to stick together my fellow RSL fanatics. We were here before, we will be here after. Go RSL!