A Strange Decision in Dallas

In most cases, the Cardinal rule in assembling a management team is to look for people of widely varied experience, in order to bring the broadest possible perspective to key decision making.

Which is what makes Dallas FCs' hiring of longtime Penn State head coach Barry Gorman as their new Technical Director so puzzling.

It's not simply that virtually all of his experience (don't give me a bunch of crud about doing clinics in Africa or sitting in the stands at Euro 2008, which is prominently featured in his resume) is of the American college variety. We all know that the whole college players-to-MLS issue is complicated at best.

But since MLS is so very dependent on at least a certain number of American college players (a theory that Hans Backe in New York is currently attempting to disprove) it's hard to make the case that there's something inherently wrong with bringing in someone with a wealth of college experience, insight and contacts.

And in a league whose two most successful head coaches - Bruce Arena and Sigi Schmid - both came directly from the ranks of college coaching (albeit in a different era) (and isn't it lovely that MLS has been around long enough to have more than one "era"? You sure could have gotten good odds on that one back in 1996), you really can't say that hiring a successful collegiate coach is a terrible idea in every case.

However, there's the rub: between the two of them Hyndman and Gorman were NCAA Division I head coaches for a staggering 46 years and never won, as Dan would say, Jacques Squat. Zip. Zero.

Schmid and Arena won a combined 8 NCAA Men's Championships, and have sent so many players to MLS that it's pointless to list them.

What you have here is two guys right around 60 years old who came to MLS without one single iota of MLS experience. I'm all for old people tackling new careers, but few would consider taking up coaching professional sports at the same time as you become eligible for Medicare to be a promising choice.

I don't care what sport you're talking about or what league, the people who are best equipped to identify and develop players who will succeed in that league are guys who have been there themselves, who've spent a lot of time playing and/or coaching there and have direct, intimate, personal knowledge of how you do and don't succeed there.

This guy brings none of that. The Hyndman pick was head scratching, but perhaps explicable. Bringing in his twin brother doesn't add anything of value to the mix.

As usual, BUZZ HAS SOME INSIGHT that at least sheds some light:

They're old, old buddies.

"The opportunity to work alongside a lifetime friend like Schellas Hyndman is a journey that I want to be on."

They go on to talk about all the wonderful times they've had together over the years, traveling, scouting, chasing women in walkers. It's quite touching really.

As for the stuff about how Gorman has tons of experience recruiting foreign players for Penn State, that's simply bunk. Yes, over the years he's had some minor success picking up kids who the professional clubs have rejected and offering them an alternative: four years in the US and a college education.

I wonder if that's a tough sell for a kid who's just been dumped from an academy and whose other options are canola farming and working in the local coal mine.

Well here's some news: if you're after a foreign player and there's money involved, they don't pay much attention to anything remotely like NCAA Regulations.

As I looked at Buzz' interview notes, one line jumped out at me:

“I consider myself to be a soccer person. It doesn’t matter what the environment is.

Now where have we head that before? Oh yes, every single one of the hundreds of people who have come into MLS from someplace else.

The track record for people who have uttered statements like that is dismal at best.

A few months ago I pointed to the SOCCER BALLS FOR HAITI project.

To their surprise, it's become a monster that is apparently taking over their apartment:

They're currently coping with over 1400 soccer balls and 300 donated hand pumps. I have nothing but admiration for guys who tackle projects like this, but seriously guys: have you seen that show "Hoarders"?

Just saying.