Though as Colorado Rapids fans we've learned to take words by Ives Galarcep of SoccerByIves fame with a grain of salt, he released a list of the four coaching candidates remaining for the Rapids back on December 29th. We're going to take a look at the four of them over the next few days, starting with Oscar Pareja.
If the Colorado Rapids need anything, it's a guy who knows how to put a team together from the youth on up. Kind of our own version of Jurgen Klinnsman, if you will. There are certainly worse candidates out there in that regard than Oscar Pareja. Pareja is a name that will be very familiar to FC Dallas fans and to a lesser extent any fan of the US Men's National Team. After playing over 180 games with Dallas from 1998-2005, he leapt right into coaching and more importantly, leading the development of youth at Pizza Hut Park from then on.
This, by the way, is the same FC Dallas that has possibly the best youth set-up in the entire league. Pareja has twice earned the title of U.S. Soccer Development Academy Conference Coach of the Year, not too shabby.
Pareja would bring some much needed on-field experience to the club as well, after a playing career that lasted almost 20 years, with a good long chunk of that time coming in the early stages of our own MLS. He's been there from the beginnings of the league and has seen the game in America evolve to the point that it's at today. More importantly, he's proven with Dallas that he knows how to get the most out of the evolving set-up of American soccer from the youth on up.
Of the candidates that we've been given, Pareja is probably my favorite. I would have absolutely no qualms seeing Papi wearing burgundy on the sidelines come March. With the combine and draft quickly approaching as well, it would be nice to have some immediate knowledge that we have a guy in charge who knows his stuff. After all, this draft pick might have a very good chance of starting for us this season, with the days of Gary Smith hoarding youth players in development for eons now gone.