The offseason for fans of the Colorado Rapids is marked with a hurry up and wait mentality. But it looks as if our wait for a manager is probably over (according to the NZ Herald) with Anthony Hudson likely crossing the Pacific to make his home in the Rockies to coach our beloved boys in burgundy. I’m encouraged, in an offseason that’s needed some encouragement.
You see, my team in the Premiere League (Everton FC) is staring relegation in the face for the first time in 64 years. My Bundesliga team, Borussia Dortmund, yoiked up a 4-0 lead to suffer a draw against their archrivals, FC Schalke 04. Lastly, I’ve started following the Liga MX team Tigres due to former Everton stud Enner Valencia joining the squad—only to find out they have a relationship with FC Dallas (not that this is a deal breaker, but they have a strong English-speaking presence on social media, which helps).
And have I mentioned that there is a ton of World Cup talk without the United States being involved?
So hearing good things about Anthony Hudson and his work for the All Whites. Adam Thornton tweeted recently:
Anthony Hudson came & brought structure to a previously sloppy organisation. He brought alignment between the youth systems & the senior team. Always that intention to develop new players. Hudson helped turn this NZ team into a professional looking outfit.
In another tweet by Thornton:
Anthony Hudson - His professionalism, displayed on numerous occasions certainly rubbed off on the players. I know within the group he was an awesome coach. Every camp was very intense, very detailed and structured.
I confess, reading tweets like this along with others who have observed Hudson’s work gives this Rapids fan some hope. While there’s no need to rehash the circumstances behind Pablo Mastroeni’s hire and his learning on the job, Hudson is a young coach (36) whose experience (as outlined by Thornton) is exactly what the Rapids need.
Andrew Voerman commented on Hudson’s tenure with a backhanded compliment:
The early view, however, is that he has been an agent of change off the field more than he has been on it.
Even then, those improvements owe a lot to NZ Football investing more in the team than they ever have, to the tune of $8-9 million over the past four years.
Hudson deserves credit for demanding that increased support. But any other coach could and should have done the same, though whether they would have had the determination to see it through is another matter.
Along with whether Hudson will deliver is the question of whether Kroenke Sports Entertainment (KSE) allow Hudson to do the work needed to make the Rapids respectable and formidable in MLS. This will involve providing the resources needed on players, player development, upgrading Dick’s Sporting Goods Park and the surrounding area.
Even with the resources available, Hudson needs to develop not only a culture but to have a plan to execute his vision. In reference to Voerman’s article, some will be disappointed in his winning percentage, gaining most of his wins against Oceania and only gaining one win and four draws in 16 games in two World Cup cycles. But Voerman adds:
There is one area where he should feel extremely unlucky, and that is with regard to injuries. Not once in 27 matches was he able to field a full-strength team. He came close against Peru in the home leg in Wellington, but by the time Chris Wood came on, Tommy Smith had limped off.
We know that Padraig Smith, Interim General Manager & Sporting Director for our Rapids, has vowed to have a more attacking style. Here’s hoping. But for the next two years, if Hudson can provide more organization, structure, and put a plan in place to set the Rapids on a good trajectory, I’ll take it. Here’s hoping.
Taylor Twellman recently spoke on “The Future of Soccer: A Networking Symposium.” In a clip passed along by the New England Revolution Twitter feed, entitled “The Numbers Don’t Lie, People Do.” You have to watch. His main point? While Liga MX is the most watched league in North America, MLS does indeed hold its own against, say, Premiere League must-watch games. Really, watch it!