Since penning a rather inflammatory piece on June 16, 2013 (And Now, The End is Here...), I wondered if the Columbus Crew has the desire to pull the trigger decisively and go in a new direction. The Crew are 1-5-0 since that article was published. If anything, they've managed to trend down. After the high expectations were voiced by the clubs Front Office, just winning a match is not a forgone conclusion at this point. The tortuous season that this club has endured seems to have no end. The following is nothing more than a "what if?" piece.
What if the Crew made the bold, decisive decision to sack the current head coach and make an offer to Eric Wynalda? Many in the fan base would like to see Crew legend Guillermo Barros Schelotto take over the helm of this foundering ship. I think the better choice moving forward is Wynalda. Before you proceed to run me out of town on a rail, let me tell you why I think he's the right choice to take over. Keep your flamethrowers at bay, you jackals...
Eric Wynalda is a 44 year old, former United States Men's National Team legend with 106 caps. He's from Fullerton, California. He's currently a studio analyst for Fox Soccer Channel and is the Technical Director for the Atlanta Silverbacks of the North American Soccer League (NASL). He played professionally from 1988-2002, before retiring.
In 1992, Wynalda was loaned by the U.S. Soccer Federation to Saarbrucken of the Bundesliga. he was the first American-born player to play for a top-level German club. While in his first year with Saarbrucken, he was the first American-born player to be awarded the Budesliga Best New Comer of the Year. In 1993-1994, he was awarded the 2nd Division Bundesliga Best Player, once again being the first American-born player to receive this honor from an overseas league.
He returned to the U.S. in 1996 to sign a contract with Major League Soccer (MLS). He started with the San Jose Clash and scored the first goal in MLS against D.C. United in their inaugural match. That season, he was named U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year. he played for four MLS sides, before retiring in 2002 from the Charleston Battery of the USL First Division.
With 106 caps while playing for the USMNT, he also is 3rd all-time in goals scored (ahead of former Crew players Brian McBride and Frankie Hedjuk), putting 34 past National team opponents. He's also 4th all-time on the assists list in the ten year span that he donned the kit of the American side.
He co-owns and is the coach of Cal FC, a fifth-tier United States Adult Soccer Association team that found glory by beating MLS side Portland Timbers in the 3rd Round of the 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in Portland. This victory by Wynalda-coached Cal FC, still stand as the biggest upset of an MLS side by an amateur club.
In July, 2012, the Atlanta Silverbacks (NASL) announced that Eric Wynalda had been named as the interim coach and Director of Soccer. He helped to change the culture within the Silverbacks organization, which led to them becoming the 2013 NASL Champions (Spring). While with Atlanta, he helped to almost double the Silverbacks average attendance in just one year.
Yes, he's brash and maybe a bit outspoken (Wynalda speech at 2012 NSCAA Convention), at times. He has a fire within him that burns extremely hot for the game of soccer. What is surprising, is that not one MLS club has brought him on-board as their head coach. This begs the question, why not? The time has come for a club to offer him a more prominent role in the domestic game. The time has come for him to join the ranks of MLS head coaches.
Does Columbus have the fortitude to take decisive action and make the bold step of hiring Eric Wynalda? The answer might seem obvious, but you and I are not the one's to make that decision.
Who Dares, Wins