A reasonable FC Dallas coach candidate shortlist

FC Dallas has moved on from Nico Estevez and is running with Interim Coach Peter Luccin as they begin their search for a head coach replacement. So let’s take a quick look at their history of hiring and then suggest some candidates.

A Short History of the Hunts’ FCD Coach Hires

The Hunts took over operating FC Dallas during the 2002 season, they were responsible for the Southlake Stadium move. They inherited Mike Jeffries and their first hire of Collin Clarke was at the end of that season before moving back to the Cotton Bowl.

CoachMLS HC ExperienceHunt Connection
Collin ClarkeNoneMike Jeffries’ top assistant.
Steve MorrowNoneCollin Clarke’s top assistant.
Schellas HyndmanNone20+ year relationship with the Hunts, Clark Hunt was his captain at SMU.
Oscar Pareja2 seasons at Colorado14+ year relationship with Hunts as a player, Academy director, and an ast. coach.
Luchi GonzalezNonePlayed at SMU for Hyndman, FCD Academy coach, and FCD Academy Director.
Nico EstevezNoneNone.

You can see a couple of trends here.

  1. Mostly, it’s the candidate’s first MLS head coaching job.
  2. All but Nico had a pre-existing relationship with the Hunts. They are known and comfortable hires.

The bottom line, the FCD job isn’t coveted. It pays mid to low in terms of MLS coaches, it has a low-budget owner approach, it has to rely on the Academy and not (historically) on big spending, and it has a TD in place that isn’t proven in terms of talent ID’ing. Plus Dan Hunt has an office down the hall.

Therefore you mostly get candidates that are after their first MLS gig. Which contributes to the Hunts making hires as they do.

Given the failure of the most recent, unfamiliar hire; one can easily see the Hunts returning to their comfortable hire ways.

Since the process is just starting and Luccin is getting the season to win it, there probably isn’t a list of finalists yet. Not that the Hunts would tell someone like us who they are anyway.

Here is our list of realistic candidates, from real to unlikely.

3rd Degree’s FC Dallas Reasonable Coaching Candidates List

Peter Luccin – Interim Head Coach at FC Dallas

Peter Luccin. (Courtesy FC Dallas)
Peter Luccin. (Courtesy FC Dallas)

It’s Luccin’s job to win. Making the playoffs is probably the minimum requirement, do better and it’s almost certainly his gig.

Pros: Extensive playing career at very high professional levels at places like PGS and Atletico Madrid. UEFA “B” Coaching License, working on the “A.” Experience coaching in the FCD system mostly as a 1st team assistant. Has the big personality the Hunts gravitate towards. Trilingual at least (French, English, Spanish, and probably Portuguese).

Cons: No pro head coach experience.

Eric Quill – Head Coach at New Mexico United

Eric Quill
Eric Quill at North Texas SC training. (Courtesy North Texas SC)

Pros: MLS playing career & US U23, U20, U16. The only pro coach in FC Dallas history to win a title when he led North Texas SC to the USL-1 crown. Knows the FCD way. Discovered and coached up Chris Richards and Chris Cappis, progressed Ricardo Pepi and Jonathan Gomez. USSF A license.  Strong-willed, demanding, and outspoken, the kind of personality the Hunts like in a coach. 2019 USL League One Coach of the Year. His New Mexico United team is in first place in the USL-C Western Conference.

Cons: He’s been away from FCD for a bit, how’s that Hunt relationship?

Josema Bazan – Assistant Coach at Pumas

Josema Bazan with Orlando City. (Courtesy Orlando City)
Josema Bazan with Orlando City. (Courtesy Orlando City)

Pros: Coached in the FC Dallas Academy and was an assistant under Oscar Pareja at FCD, Xolos, and 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 professional playing career across Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, and Brazil. USSF A license. Might bring his brother, strength and conditioning coach Fabian Bazan with him, a massive bonus.

Cons: He moved to Pumas to be an assistant about 6 months ago, he might now want to move again this fast. Potentially an unknown name to fans and domestic players.

Chuy Vera – U19 Head Coach at FC Dallas

Jesús “Chuy” Vera. (Courtesy FC Dallas)
Jesús “Chuy” Vera. (Courtesy FC Dallas)

Pros: Venezuela’s National team player (18 caps). Joined FCD as a pro scout in 2017 and assistant under Oscar Pareja. Has coached in the Academy so he knows the system and players. Managed 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. Bilingual 

Cons: American players and fans probably won’t know who he is. Hasn’t been a pro head coach since 2013 (that I know of).

The Andre Zanotta Coach Candidate List

Last time around there were some serious rumors Andre Zanotta was looking to bring one of his guys up here. So we’ll suggest the same two candidates we did last time as they were legit ideas then and remain legit ideas now.

Renato Gaucho – Gremio

Renato Gaucho, Flamengo.
Renato Gaucho, Flamengo.

Pros: Massive title-winning playing and coaching career (560 games, 184 goals, 10+ titles). Used to work for Zanotta at Gremio where he won the Copa Libertadores. Many titles and coaching awards to his name (6 and 3). Top-tier, high-end, serious business coach. Over 960 games as a pro coach all in Brazil.

Cons: Hired by Gremio for the 4th time in Sept 2022 (given how much turnover there is in Brazil it might be time to move). Little knowledge about MLS or FC Dallas. Would he speak anything other than Portuguese?

Oswaldo de Oliveira – Currently Not Coaching

Oswaldo de Oliveira at Fluminense in 2019.
Oswaldo de Oliveira at Fluminense in 2019.

Pros: Zanotta has hired him 2 times already, once at Santos and once at Sport Recife.  Since 1999 he’s coached 22 clubs making him much more experienced than pretty much all this list put together.  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. 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 73. Hasn’t coached since 2019 at Fluminense.

3rd Degree’s “Think Outside the Box” Suggestions

These names are reasonable and we think a good fit for this job. Some have a connection to FCD and some do not.

Why not think outside the box a little?

Hugo Perez – Currently Not Coaching

Hugo Perez. (Courtesy Concacaf)
Hugo Perez. (Courtesy Concacaf)

Pros: USMNT great, played in 2 World Cups, 2 Olympics, and a FIFA Youth Championship. Member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame. 12-year pro career. He’s coached US youth national teams and the El Salvador U23 and senior national teams. Bilingual. Dialed into the Hispanic US soccer culture. Has worked with youth in US program.

Cons: Hasn’t had a pro club job yet, national teams can be quite different. Does he know the grass route US pool well enough?

Jorge “Zarco” Rodriguez – Head Coach Alianza

Jorge 'Zarco' Rodriguez at FAS in 2002.
Jorge ‘Zarco’ Rodriguez at FAS.

Pros: Almost 20-year professional playing career and 11 years as a head coach. 71 caps for El Salvador.  Professional manager since 2013. Won 6 titles as a coach (3 Aperturas, 3 Clausuras). 1998 Dallas Burn MVP, 3-time Burn Defender of the Year. He comes back to Dallas from time to time for a visit.

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

Dave van den Bergh – Assistant Coach Portland Timbers

Pros: Coached US U15s and U19s before joining Bruce Arena’s Revs staff in 2019. Moved to the Timbers staff this season after the Bruce Arena problems in NE. Product of the Ajax system so he would understand the FCD way. A 15-year pro career ended with FC Dallas in 2009. USSF Pro license.

Cons: Had some harsh words for Schellas Hyndman on the way out of FCD… how sour are his feelings toward FCD/Hunts? No experience as a senior head coach, yet. (Only a matter of time though.)

Dave van den Bergh. (Courtesy US Soccer)
Dave van den Bergh. (Courtesy US Soccer)

Jason Kreis – Real Salt Lake Director of Operations and Special Projects

Pros: The FC Dallas GOAT. Won an MLS Cup as a coach with RSL leading them 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 and I don’t think the Hunt relationship is repaired enough. He also has a great gig at RSL.

Jesus Ferreira and club legend Jason Kreis (current Miami ast. coach) prior to the FCD game vs Inter, April 8, 2023. (Courtesy FC Dallas)
Jesus Ferreira and club legend Jason Kreis (then a Miami ast. coach) prior to the FCD game vs Inter, April 8, 2023. (Courtesy FC Dallas)


  1. Josema Bazan was a fantastic coach at the youth level. My son played for him at both RP and Andromeda. He tan some of the most intense and intelegent trainings I’ve ever personally seen. Does that translate to the pro level, who knows.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *