Gaining trust

When teams struggle, step one on the road to recovery is almost always to replace the coach.  The conventional wisdom is to look for coaches who have won championships with other teams.  But in all sports there are dozens of examples in which great coaches with sparkling credentials are hired by new teams and fail to find similar success.  Many front office executives, even accomplished ones, use the past as a guide when they should be looking forward.   Of all the things to consider when choosing a coach, probably the most important is trust.  If a coach is going to be successful, he needs to get the most out of his players.  The best way to get the most out of players is to see that the players get along with each other and trust the coach.  As long as a coach has the trust and confidence of the players, the sky is the limit. Curt Onalfo was a teammate of Jaime Moreno.  In 1998 they won the CONCACAF Champions’ Cup and the Inter American Cup; in 1999 they won the Supporters’ Shield and the MLS Cup.  Curt Onalfo was an assistant coach with D.C. United in 2001, which was the rookie season for Bryan Namoff and Santino Quaranta.  Curt Onalfo speaks Spanish, which means that it will be easier to communicate with the long-time Spanish speaking players for United, and the newly acquired Cristian Castillo.  It’s not mandatory that coaches speak the same language as their players, but the ability to do so is another way to improve a player’s comfort level, and earn their trust.  Curt Onalfo was an assistant coach for Team USA in the World Cup.  The ultimate goal of any soccer player is to participate in a World Cup, and now United players have a coach who has reached that goal.  Curt Onalfo knows MLS.  He has been a player, an assistant coach, and a head coach in Major League Soccer.  He understands the league and understands what the players are going through. Curt Onalfo brings a very unique set of skills to D.C. United.  He has on the field relationships with a number of D.C. United players, and he shares a bond with the entire roster as a former player himself.  He won an NCAA Championship as a player, and took part in a World Cup as a coach.  His accomplishments are impressive and there is no denying his remarkable career in American soccer.  There is every reason to believe that Onalfo will quickly earn the respect and trust of his players because of his past success.  However, as with any new coach, the most important thing is to look forward.