Did you know coach trades are a thing? Well, technically speaking, they aren’t. But FC Dallas and the US Men’s National Team effectively completed one over the weekend, which means we gotta talk about it. Hey, I don’t make the rules here*.
*I do, in fact, make the rules here. And one of them is that we talk about coach trades.
It started on Friday, when FC Dallas tabbed USMNT assistant Nico Estevez as its new coach two and a half months after dismissing Luchi Gonzalez. The 41-year-old’s background stands in stark contrast to anyone the club has had in charge before: no high-level playing experience and a managerial career steeped in European football—namely, Spanish powerhouse Valencia, where Estevez worked in the youth sector as well as served as interim manager in 2013. He’s spent the last seven years in the United States, first with the Columbus Crew before serving as USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter’s right-hand man since 2019. All told, his experience straddles the line between foreign and domestic, youth teams and senior squads, which on paper makes him a snug fit for FC Dallas, a club that’s cultivated a reputation as the best in the country for producing the sort of high-end young talent European clubs want to purchase.
So that’s interesting unto itself. Then the plot thickened yesterday when the USMNT announced Gonzalez as Estevez’s replacement. Ergo, coach trade!
I’m not going to pretend to harbor any deeper thoughts than that for the time being. The impact of Gonzalez’s job duties with the USMNT will be hard to quantify publicly, while Estevez was last a head coach eight years ago and held that post in drastically different circumstances. Your guess is as good as mine whether one, both, or neither side ends up happy here.
What I will say is that I’m now inspired to wonder what other sorts of de facto trades can be made in sports. General managers? Equipment folks? Ticket sales staff? The possibilities abound. No promises I’ll blog about those other ones, though.