Imagine, for a moment, that you live in a world where the U.S. men’s national team has an official manager.
Take a peek at the world around you. Walk around a little. Explore this strange new reality. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. It’s nice here, right? Oh hey, look! There’s Patrick Vieira! Is he…is he the United States men's national team's new manager? As you look closer, you see that Vieira is wearing Nike from head-to-toe and is drinking two bottles of BioSteel (one in each hand, of course), while driving a Volkswagen through the streets of Chicago.
Yep, Vieira is the guy. There’s no doubt about that.
Back in our actual world, the USMNT doesn’t have a permanent manager. We do have the most famous American soccer player on the planet telling his federation to get a move on, though! That should count for something. But with a sporting director finally in place, U.S. Soccer is moving forward in the hiring process for the coach. Given that time is at a premium with just three years until the next men’s World Cup, getting a new hire on board quickly is critical.
In his introductory press conference a few weeks ago, new sporting director Matt Crocker wouldn’t get into any specific names of potential managerial candidates. However, there have been some reports (and some inferences made by this writer) regarding who might be available and interested in taking over as the USMNT’s new manager.
So while we wait for a decision, here at Backheeled, we’re imagining a series of worlds in which the USMNT is coached by various potential managers. Last week, we looked at what Thierry Henry’s version of the U.S. would look like. Before that, it was Jesse Marsch. This week? It’s Patrick Vieira’s turn.
Vieira, who is currently out of work after being fired by Crystal Palace in the Premier League back in March, hasn’t been connected to the USMNT job in any real way. Still, he’s one of the most eligible free agents on the market, he’s coached in the United States in the past, and he doesn’t have the kind of managerial pedigree that would immediately put him above international management.
So what would the USMNT look like under Vieira? How would they play? And would he be a good fit? Let’s dive in.