A 3rd Degree list of hypothetical FC Dallas head coach candidates

Change has come, once again, to FC Dallas.  The search is underway for the successor to Luchi Gonzalez.

As always around these parts, we try and get ahead of the game and give you some info to chew on. It might take a couple of weeks for the Hunts to pick their new man… or maybe they have someone ready to go.  Either way, we got some names for you now.

The Hunts have hired – without fail – someone from within their circle. Current assistants, former players, or friend/coach/mentor types. 

When they fired Mike Jeffries they hired his assistant Collin Clarke. When they parted ways with Clarke, they hired his assistant Steve Morrow. When they canned Morrow, they hired Clark Hunt’s former college coach and long-time family friend Schellas Hyndman.  When Hyndman departed, they hired former academy director, player, and assistant coach Oscar Pareja away from Colorado. Upon Pareja’s jaunt off to Mexico they hired another FCD academy director, Luchi Gonzalez.

There is, as they say, a trend.

Will this time be different?

I doubt it. The Hunts are big on trust.  Any coach hired here will have to buy into the FCD way: the Academy and bargain foreign signings. Plus, through anecdotal evidence, it seems the FC Dallas job isn’t that high paying.

So when you look over our coaching candidate list, keep all that in mind, as it’s tailored to this trend.

Before we dig in, there is an x-factor here: Andre Zanotta. How much was he involved in the Luchi firing? Is he hiring the new coach or are Dan and Clark? I’ve put a Zanotta section on the list, just in case. I don’t know a lot about his history of hiring coaches but there are a couple of names that have jumped out.

On with the list!

In-House Candidates

Marco Ferruzzi – FCD’s Director of Soccer Operations

Pros: By far the most experienced and qualified coach “in-house.” A member of the coaching staff here in Dallas since late 2004. No one knows this organization better.  Well versed in the crazy rules of MLS and he’s run FCD’s NCAA and domestic scouting ops for years. This is his second stint as Interim Manager. USSF A license. He has served as a reserve team, pre-academy, and premier team coach for FC Dallas Youth. Played for over a decade in MLS and USL. Bilingual.

Cons: Soft-spoken, reticent, quiet… not the gung-ho dominator of rooms that the Hunts seem to prefer. He has been a candidate before and has been passed over, notably for Luchi.

Zanotta Ferruzzi
Andre Zanotta and Marco Ferruzzi in Tucson, Arizona, during 2019 FC Dallas spring training. (Buzz Carrick, 3rd Degree)

Eric Quill – North Texas SC Head Coach

Pros: MLS playing experience. Won a title with NTX. He’s dealt with the FCD system and its Academy-to-pro method for two years now.  Discovered and coached up Chris Richards and Chris Cappis. USSF A license.  Strong-willed, demanding, and out-spoken, the kind of personality the Hunts like in a coach. 2019 USL League One Coach of the Year. 

Cons: Only two seasons as a men’s pro head coach and only at the D3 level. Previous coaching experience is as an academy director or college assistant.

Eric Quill.

Peter Luccin – FCD Assistant Coach

Pros: Extensive playing career at very high professional levels at places like PGS and Atletico Madrid. UEFA “B” Coaching License. Experience coaching in the FCD Academy and as an assistant with FCD. Big personality the Hunts gravitate towards. Trilingual at least (French, English, Spanish).

Cons: No pro head coaching experience. Only two seasons as a pro assistant under Luchi Gonzalez. FCD’s current “defensive” coach.

FC Dallas Assistant Coach Peter Luccin watches on during practice (Dan Crooke, 3rd Degree)

Jesús “Chuy” Vera – FCD Assistant Coach and Director of Scouting

Pros: Joined FCD as a pro scout in 2017 and has also coached in the Academy so he knows these players quite well.  Manged pro teams in Venezuela from 2008 to 2013 he led his teams to three Venezuela cups and two league finals, winning in 2011.  Revelation Coach Award in 2009 and Coach of the Year in 2011. Knows the Academy and has many foreign connections. Bilingual 

Cons: American players might not know who he is. Hasn’t been a pro head coach since 2013 (that I know of). Potentially light on US connections and on MLS rules. Why did he stop being a head coach?

Jesús “Chuy” Vera. (Courtesy FC Dallas)

Not In-House Candidates

Jason Kreis – Inter Miami Assistant

Pros: FC Dallas GOAT. Won an MLS Cup as a coach with RSL led then to a 2nd Cup and the CCL Final. Knows MLS, its rules, and the academy system.  A former head coach with RSL, NYCFC, Orlando City, US U23, and Fort Lauderdale with almost 400 games under his belt.  FCD has recently started repairing its relationship with Kreis. USSF Pro license.

Cons: The last few head gigs haven’t been great.  Is the FCD bridge still burnt?  Perhaps he’s been too long away from FCD and is unfamiliar with their Academy specifically. Would he be all in on the FCD way?

Jason Kreis
Jason Kreis, Inter Miami. (Courtesy Inter Miami)

Jorge “Zarco” Rodriguez – Head Coach CD FAS

Pros: Almost 20-year professional playing career. 71 caps for El Salvador.  Professional manager since 2013. Won 5 titles as a coach (3 Aperturas, 3 Clausuras). Maybe bilingual but I’m not confident.

Cons: His entire coaching career has been in El Salvador and Guatemala, with no MLS coaching experience. Light on knowledge on MLS rules, the Academy, and the domestic player.

Jorge “Zarco” rodriguez. (Courtesy FAS)

Leonel Alvarez – Not Coaching

Pros: A head coach in various leagues in South America since 2009 including a stint with the Colombian National Team. Big personality. One of the best players in the world in his heyday. His intense and demanding style might be just what the Hunts have in mind. Won two titles with Independiente Medellín. He knows and talks to Oscar Pareja. A founding playing pillar of the Dallas Burn / FCD. Just this week he stated his desire to coach FC Dallas.

Cons: 9 different teams since 2009 is a lot of movement.  Very limited experience with the domestic player or the MLS rules and academy system. He would need a lot of staff help with US experience. I seriously doubt he’s bilingual.

Leonel Alvarez.

Pablo Ricchetti – Not Coaching

Pros: Since 2016, Ricchetti has been working as a coach in Argentina, mostly as an assistant where his team won the Argentinian Tournament in 2016, Copa Bicentenario, and Argentinian Supercup before reaching the Copa Libertadores’ final in 2017. Named head Coach of Santamarina in 2019.  Left FCD on bad terms but patched it up during Oscar Pareja’s tenure and did some work with the FCD Academy. Has done some scouting for USSF. Bilingual. He seems to keep up with FCD and knows the club pretty well for a coach not in the country. His personality seems a good fit for the Hunts and head coaching in general. Has a USSF B License, a Conmebol A License, and is nearing completion of his Conmebol Pro License.

Cons: Less head coach experience than most of the people on this list. Has the repair to his relationship with the Hunts been enough?

Pablo Richetti.

Josema Bazan – Assistant at Orlando City

Pros: Coached in the FC Dallas Academy and was an assist under Oscar at FCD, Xolos, and now Orlando. Bilingual. Knows MLS and the FCD way. Assistant coach for the U17, U20, and senior Venezuelan National Teams. Founded a Dallas-based youth club called River Plate.  Former Director of Coaching for Andromeda SC.  10-year pro playing career across Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, and Brazil. USSF A license. Probably would bring his brother, strength and conditioning coach Fabian Bazan with him (a massive bonus). Still has family in Dallas.

Cons: He might prefer to stay with Oscar in Orlando. Unknown to players outside of FCD or Dallas.

Josema Bazan. (Courtesy FC Dallas)

Simo Valakari – Head Coach KuPS in Finland.

Pros: Almost 20-year professional career including time in England and MLS. Over a decade as a manager in Finland. Has done some youth coaching as well. His kind of game and playing style translate well to coaching. Disciplined and hard-working. Friendly, open personality.

Cons: Bilingual but not in Spanish (that I am are of). He’s been out of MLS for a long time and would be unfamiliar with its rules and the current state of the league.

Simo Valakari.

Dave van den Bergh – Assistant Coach New England Revolution

Pros: Coached US U15s and U19s before joining Bruce Arena’s staff and thus would know the FCD Academy pathway to a certain extent.  Product of the Ajax system so he would understand the goals of the FCD way. A 15-year pro career ended in Dallas in 2009. USSF Pro license.

Cons: Had some harsh words for Schellas Hyndman on the way out of FCD… how sour are his feeling toward FCD/Hunts? No pro experience as a head coach.

Dave van den Bergh. (Courtesy US Soccer)

The Andre Zanotta List

Oswaldo de Oliveira – Currently Not Coaching

Pros: FC Dallas TD Andre Zanotta has hired him twice, both at Santos and Sport Recife.  Since 1999 he’s coached 22 clubs making him much more experienced than pretty much all this list.  3-time J-League Manager of the Year. 14 trophies including 2000 FIFA Club World Championship, 3 J-League titles, a bunch of cups, and a couple of Brazilian titles. He would have a blank slate on the current FCD team. First manager to have worked with all four main teams of São Paulo (Corinthians, Palmeiras, Santos, and São Paulo) and four main teams of Rio de Janeiro (Botafogo, Flamengo, Fluminense, and Vasco)

Cons: Limited knowledge of MLS, its rules, the Academy, and the FCD way. Age, he’s 70.

Oswaldo de Oliveira at Fluminense in 2019.

Renato Gaucho – Flamengo 

Pros: Used to work for Zanotta at Gremio where he won the Copa Libertadores. Multiple titles and coaching awards to his name. Top tier, high-end, serious business coach. Over 850 games as a pro coach all in Brazil.

Cons: He was hired by Flamengo on July 10th and has a contract through the end of 2021 with a potential auto-renewal. Flamengo is, apparently, a club he’s long wanted to coach because he played there on four separate occasions. Not likely to know anything about MLS or FC Dallas. Would he speak anything other than Portuguese?

Renato Gaucho, Flamengo.

Who’s on your list?


  1. Two guys I’ve seen mentioned and have no idea how much the Hunts would be interested, but both would be cool.
    Bobby Muuss, who has recruited a bunch of FC Dallas guys to Wake Forest, where he’s run the best program in the country for a half decade now and won ACC Coach of the Year 4x straight, doubling the previous record held by Bruce Arena and Jay Vidovich. Only 45 and developmentally focused, so would fit in that respect.
    Dome Torrent, Pep Guardiola’s longtime consigliere who coached NYCFC’s worst roster in its history for two years and got great results out of them before jumping to Flamengo for a year and winning a bunch of games. Also tri-lingual, I think. Has expressed interest in coaching in MLS again.

  2. Wilmer Cabrera?
    Pros: Has ties with Oscar, coached in MLS and USMNT U17s, bilingual

    Cons: Coached Houston, hasn’t had much success in MLS

  3. To be able to be a head coach or assistant coach in Argentina you need to carry a A License or Pro License, so I’m pretty sure Pablo Ricchetti carries one.
    He was part of 5 titles in Argentina, and he knows how to discover and motivate young players and make them win.

      1. Ricchetti took his team to the final match of the Libertadores Cup. Very remarkable achievement. We need a winning coach !!

  4. Nothing says “Academy-friendly” like Antonio Conte. I mean, he has expressed interest in coaching in the US. This is his chance!

    No sarcasm font?

  5. Josema would be a fantastic coach if he wanted to leave Orlando. Sure, he’d got tossed out of many games, but he was assistant in charge of some good stuff when he was here.

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