Wayne Rooney is returning to the United States to take over as manager of his former team D.C. United, making him one of MLS’ most high-profile hires in history.
The MLS has always been a league that can attract some of the world’s most well-known players, with David Beckham, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Andrea Pirlo, and Kaka all playing for clubs in the league. Players have been joined by a number of notable and infamous managers in continuing their careers in North America, including one of the world’s most successful coaches.
MLS has seen its fair share of notable hires, from legendary players looking to jumpstart their managerial careers to big-name coaches in need of a change. Wayne Rooney is the most recent addition to that list, taking over as manager of D.C. United after a decorated career with England’s national team.
What is the MLS?
The Major League Soccer, or MLS, is the top soccer league in the United States. It is made up of 20 teams, 17 from the US and 3 from Canada. The MLS began play in 1996 and has grown rapidly in popularity since then.
Some of the biggest names in world soccer have played in the MLS, including David Beckham, Thierry Henry, and Wayne Rooney. These stars have helped to raise the profile of the league and make it one of the most exciting places to watch soccer in the world.
The MLS is continuing to grow in popularity, and with more big names joining the league, it is only going to get better. If you are a soccer fan, then the MLS is definitely a league that you should be following.
How important is management in Major League Soccer?
It is no secret that management plays a vital role in any organisation, and Major League Soccer is no different. In fact, some would argue that management is even more important in the MLS than in other organisations, simply because of the unique nature of the league.
The MLS operates differently than most other professional sports leagues in the world. Rather than having a traditional promotion and relegation system, the MLS employs a “single-entity” structure in which all of the teams are owned by the league itself. This means that there is no incentive for teams to tank games or run up scores against weaker opponents, because doing so would not improve their chances of being promoted or relegated.
This structure also means that the MLS has to be very careful about how it manages its finances. Unlike other leagues, the MLS does not have the luxury of generating revenue through ticket sales or television contracts. Instead, the league relies heavily on sponsorship deals and investment from wealthy owners.
As a result, the MLS must be extremely efficient in its management in order to ensure that it remains financially viable. This is why many people believe that management is even more important in the MLS than it is in other professional sports leagues.
Of course, there are always going to be exceptions to every rule. Some teams in the MLS have been very successful despite poor management, while others have struggled despite having strong management teams in place. Ultimately, though, it is safe to say that management is a critical component of success in the MLS.
Wayne Rooney – D.C. United
Rooney is the newest member of this list, having surprisingly rejoined DC United.
After his two-year appointment as a player and, ultimately, manager of Manchester United, Wayne Rooney returned to the club as a coach.
The club’s poor financial health made it impossible for him to do his job, with the team docked 21 points ahead of the 2021-22 Championship season. Despite this, Rooney nearly pulled off a remarkable relegation escape when the Rams finished just seven points from safety.
Yet, after the season ended, he departed and has now returned to D.C. United, who are hoping that their new coaching staff will have the same impact on the club as when he first joined as a player.
Phil Neville – Inter Miami
Former Manchester United and England player Phil Neville was appointed as the head coach of Inter Miami in January 2020.
He had previously been working as a pundit for Sky Sports.
Neville’s first season in charge of Inter Miami was a difficult one, with the team finishing 10th in the Eastern Conference.
However, Neville will be hoping that he can lead the team to better things in 2021 as they look to build on their first season in MLS.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic – LA Galaxy
Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic is one of the most famous players in the world and he joined LA Galaxy in 2018.
Ibrahimovic has had a hugely successful career, winning league titles in Italy, Spain, France and the Netherlands.
He has also won two UEFA Cup titles and an MLS Cup with LA Galaxy.
Ibrahimovic is currently the second-highest scorer in MLS history and he will be looking to add to his tally in 2021.
Bruce Arena – New England Revolution
Former US national team coach Bruce Arena was appointed as the head coach of the New England Revolution in May 2019.
Arena is one of the most successful coaches in MLS history, having won three MLS Cups with the Los Angeles Galaxy.
He has also coached the US national team on two occasions, leading them to the World Cup in 2002 and 2006.
Arena will be looking to lead the Revolution to their first MLS Cup title in 2021.
Jesse Marsch – Red Bull Salzburg
American coach Jesse Marsch was appointed as the head coach of Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg in 2019.
Marsch had previously been the head coach of MLS side New York Red Bulls.
He led Salzburg to the Austrian Bundesliga title in his first season in charge and they also reached the semi-finals of the UEFA Europa League.
Marsch will be looking to build on this success in 2021 as Salzburg look to win more trophies.
Gerardo Martino – Atlanta United
Of all of the coaches on this list, the Argentine is probably the most successful.
Martino previously oversaw Barcelona and Argentina before coming to Atlanta as the league’s first-ever coach, and boy, did they get it right!
For his part, Gressel is too modest and inexperienced to be considered a possible replacement for Atlanta United’s departing star. The 19-year-old attacking midfielder has only spent two years in the United States after making his pro debut with Hertha Berlin at the age of 15.
After winning the MLS Cup, Martino departed Atlanta United, taking over as manager of Mexico on their path to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Thierry Henry – Montreal Impact
After winning the Ballon d’Or as a forward, Thierry Henry retired in 2010 and returned to the United States to play for New York Red Bulls. After retiring from football, however, he went back to MLS as a coach for the first time after spending his entire career with Arsenal.
After a short time at Monaco, Janayer was named the coach of the Impact in early 2014, shortly followed by their rebranding as CF Montreal.
There were multiple reasons why he decided to leave the Impact. He took them to their first playoff appearance in four years, but ahead of the 2021 season, Henry resigned, citing his desire to be closer to his children in London after spending almost a year away from his family as a result of the Covid-19 epidemic.
Henry has since returned to his post as an assistant coach to Belgium boss Roberto Martinez.
Frank de Boer – Atlanta United
The Dutchman is no stranger to MLS, having previously managed Crystal Palace and Inter Milan.
De Boer was appointed as Atlanta United’s head coach in 2019, but he was sacked just over halfway through his first season in charge.
He did, however, leave a lasting legacy at the club. De Boer was the one who oversaw the development of Gressel, and he is also responsible for signing Uruguay international winger Nicolas Lodeiro from Boca Juniors.
Lodeiro went on to play a pivotal role in Seattle Sounders’ MLS Cup win in 2019, and he is now considered one of the best players in the league.
Greg Vanney – Toronto FC
The American coach is the only one on this list to have won an MLS Cup, doing so with Toronto FC in 2017.
Vanney has been in charge of Toronto FC since 2014, and he has transformed them into one of the best teams in the league.
Under his guidance, they have won three Canadian Championships, and they were also the first MLS team to complete a domestic treble, winning the MLS Cup, Supporters’ Shield, and Canadian Championship in 2017.
Vanney is currently the longest-serving coach in MLS, and he shows no signs of slowing down.
Bob Bradley – Los Angeles FC
The American coach is best known for his time in charge of the United States national team, but he has also had spells at Swansea City and Le Havre.
Bradley was appointed as Los Angeles FC’s first-ever head coach in 2017, and he has guided them to two playoff appearances in their short history.
In 2019, Bradley led LAFC to a record-breaking season, as they became the first team in MLS history to reach 70 points. They also won the Supporters’ Shield, and Bradley was named Coach of the Year.
He left LAFC in 2020 to take over at Austrian side Austria Vienna, but he returned to MLS just a few months later, taking over at expansion side Austin FC.
Bradley is a hugely experienced coach, and he has proven that he can still cut it at the highest level.
In conclusion, these are some of the biggest stars to manage in MLS. All of them have had great success in their careers and will surely bring a lot of excitement to any team they manage.