U.S. Soccer appoints Dave Sarachan as interim coach for Portugal friendly

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Dave Sarachan helps lead a U.S. men’s national team training session. (Getty)
Dave Sarachan helps lead a U.S. men’s national team training session. (Getty)

U.S. men’s national team assistant coach Dave Sarachan will take charge of the team on an interim basis for a Nov. 14 friendly against Portugal, U.S. Soccer confirmed Tuesday morning.

Sarachan, an assistant under Bruce Arena, and the rest of the current technical staff will lead the U.S. men for at least one match.

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There is not yet a timeline for appointing a permanent manager, but the thought is that a full-time hire won’t be made until after the United States Soccer Federation’s presidential election in February.

Bruce Arena resigned from his post as national team boss three days after the Americans failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. The same day, U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati told reporters that he planned to appoint an interim coach within 7-10 days.

Tab Ramos, U.S. Soccer’s current youth technical director and Under-20 head coach, had been considered the favorite for the interim role. But Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl reported last week that Ramos balked at the interim tag.

Sarachan and his fellow assistants – Pat Noonan, Kenny Arena and Matt Reis – are still on USSF payroll despite Arena’s departure. It made little sense for the federation to bring in an outsider for one or two matches.

After November’s game against Portugal, the next national team camp would be the traditional January camp, which is still expected to take place. But details – including the coach who will lead it and the player pool from which he or she will select – are still up in the air.

Sarachan, a long-time Arena assistant, would likely be a candidate to take charge of January camp as well, but is likely not a long-term solution. His lone professional head coaching job was at the helm of the Chicago Fire from 2002-07. The 63-year-old has served as an assistant under Arena during the manager’s previous U.S. men’s national team stint, as well as during stints with D.C. United and the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Gulati indicated two weeks ago that the federation would be in no rush to appoint a permanent manager.

“We’ve got two different processes, one is a short-term process about who’s going to take the team in November,” he said. “And then a longer review of the program, and decisions about long-term planning for the coach. We don’t need a long-term, four-year commitment to a coach by February or March.”

Gulati’s third presidential term comes to an end this upcoming winter. He is expected to seek re-election, but if he is defeated, the new president could be in charge of choosing the next U.S. men’s national team coach.

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Henry Bushnell covers soccer – the U.S. national teams, the Premier League, and much, much more – for FC Yahoo and Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Question? Comment? Email him at henrydbushnell@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @HenryBushnell.

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