More than 10 years ago, Ruud Gullit coined the phrase "sexy football."
The Los Angeles Galaxy hope he brings attractive soccer to Southern California.
The Major League Soccer club will unveil Gullit, the former World Footballer of the Year and coach of English Premier League clubs Chelsea and Newcastle, as its new head coach on Friday morning, sources close to the negotiations revealed Thursday.
Team officials refused to comment on Yahoo! Sports' initial report of Gullit's impending hiring early Thursday morning, but sources indicated that a three-year contract was on the table for Gullit.
The Galaxy will introduce Gullit at a 10:30 a.m. PST press conference on Friday.
Jurgen Klinsmann was another early option for Galaxy owners AEG, but it is believed the Germany World Cup coach indicated he was not interested in the position. The opening was created last Sunday by the resignation of Frank Yallop, who returned to San Jose as coach of the expansion Earthquakes.
Determined to maximize the international exposure generated by the arrival of David Beckham, the Galaxy believe the appointing of a high-profile boss will provide another boost. Gullit brings that big name and big expectations, but the Dutchman will need to find a way to handle certain challenges that come with the Galaxy job.
During his time with Chelsea and Newcastle, Gullit had sizeable transfer budgets with which to purchase new players, but MLS rules restrict a similar spending spree in L.A. Also, Gullit must figure out how to get the best out of Beckham – something he failed to achieve with Alan Shearer, then an England superstar and a regional icon, in his time at Newcastle. Dealing with the intricacies of MLS' draft system and smaller rosters will all be new to Gullit, too.
Gullit matching his skills against the best coaches in MLS will be fascinating to watch, and the mere fact he was targeted by the Galaxy is further proof of the organization's desire to become the dominant force in the North American game.
MLS commissioner Don Garber questioned recently whether a superstar coach could have the same sort of effect on the American market as players like Beckham and Cuauhtemoc Blanco. Certainly, Gullit alone will not fill seats the same way Beckham was able to accomplish in his debut season, but the Galaxy are also thinking globally. This is a move that will make the worldwide soccer community sit up and take notice.
- Ruud Gullit