Major League Soccer is losing another of its best coaches to Mexico.
Earlier this week, Atlanta United’s Tata Martino reportedly agreed to a four-year contract to coach the Mexico national team. Now, FC Dallas’ Óscar Pareja is leaving the states for Liga MX side Club Tijuana, according to reports from Ives Galarcep.
Some BIG MLS coaching news: I'm told that Club Tijuana is set to hire Oscar Pareja as their new manager. Pareja will be leaving FC Dallas after five seasons as head coach. #MLS #DTID #Xolos https://t.co/BAxSKc52tT— Ives Galarcep (@SoccerByIves) November 17, 2018
Óscar Pareja is a 50-year-old native of Colombia but has spent most of his career in the U.S., having joined the New England Revolution in 1998. Outside of a couple coaching stints with Colorado and the U.S. U-17s, Pareja has spent most of the last 20 years with FC Dallas, including eight seasons as a player and the last five as head coach.
Pareja has been one of the best MLS coaches in the last five years, winning the 2016 Supporters’ Shield and the U.S. Open Cup.
He was reportedly interested new challenges, particularly the long-vacant USMNT coaching position. When no interview ever surfaced, he apparently decided to move on, and the Xolos were waiting.
From the #Xolos perspective, I believe Pareja will be the first English-speaking coach in the club's history - no small consideration with the commitment to @xolos_en & expanding the English-language broadcasts.— Jon Arnold (@ArnoldcommaJon) November 17, 2018
Assuming the reports are accurate, this is another big loss for Major League Soccer. Pareja’s MLS teams were entertaining and successful, failing to reach the playoffs just once and finishing with the top record in the Western Conference twice.
Unlike Martino’s move to coach El Tri, which can be seen as a clear move up because it’s a national team, losing Pareja to a club south of the border is just another example of Liga MX being a better league than MLS.
This week, MLS commissioner Don Garber sounded very Trumpian in taking credit for Mexico finding Tata Martino, as if coaching Lionel Messi at Barcelona or Argentina wasn’t noticeable.
“They made a very aggressive move to get Tata who, by the way, before he came to MLS might not have been on the radar screen for the Mexican national team,” Garber said.
Garber will be less boastful with FC Dallas letting its great coach leave the country.