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Op-Ed \ John Haydon

MLS is no different than other leagues in coaching turnover.

By John Haydon
Special to SoccerTimes

(Sunday, May 2, 1999) -- The coaching carousel in Major League Soccer continues to turn.

Just as in any professional sport, coaching is a very risky business in America's top soccer league. MLS has just entered its fourth year, but only one coach remains from the original 10 in 1996.

Already this year, Ron Newman of the Kansas City Wizards and Octavio Zambrano of the Los Angeles Galaxy have been forced out. "Coaching is a job where you experience great joys at great risk," MLS commissioner Doug Logan said. "There is a compelling reason why talented people want to coach. It is a job with great highs and great lows."

MLS soccer has seen 28 coaches in its short history. The latest addition to the fraternity arrived Wednesday, when the 0-7 Wizards hired former United States team coach Bob Gansler.

Zambrano (41-22 overall), who led the Galaxy to an impressive 28-8 overall record last season breaking numerous offensive marks, was shown the door last week after going 2-3 in 1999. With Newman's ouster in Kansas City, only David Dir (55-56 overall) of the Dallas Burn remains from the inaugural season.

Some of the original MLS coaches went on to better things in soccer. D.C. United's Bruce Arena became the U.S. national team coach. Bobby Houghton, first coach of the Colorado Rapids, now runs the fast-improving national team of China.

Others have found other professions. Laurie Calloway of the San Jose Clash runs a deli in Capitola, Calif., and Eddie Firmani, who coached the New York/New Jersey MetroStars for their first eight games, sells artificial turf in Montreal.

The MetroStars hold the record for the most coaches with five.

John Haydon is soccer columnist for the Washington Times and can be e-mailed at haydon@twtmail.com.

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