David Falk has followed soccer in the Puget Sound region since 1974. This blog covers Sounders FC, local college soccer, Seattle Wolves FC, Tacoma Tide FC and Kitsap Pumas. Send tips or comments to: goalseattle@gmail.com
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Seattle Soccer Examiner

Seattle Soccer Examiner

Monday, August 25, 2008

Sounders FC should steer clear of Clavijo

Clavijo, far left, brown coat, chats with Kasey Keller last season when the Rapids played the Sounders in the US Open Cup. Seattle beat Fernando's gang 5-0.
(David Falk)

When word came out last week that Fernando Clavijo had resigned as head coach of Major League Soccer's Colorado Rapids my first thought was the joy that many Rapids fans must be feeling. Quickly I refocused on what is really important: making it clear that this SSFC supporter doesn't want Fernando to bring his mediocrity to Sounders FC in a similar role.

Clavijo is despised by many fans in Denver, but historically he didn't do too much better or worse than other Rapids coaches have. The stakes and expectations were raised much higher when the Rapids moved into their new stadium in Commerce City. Clavijo failed to get the Rapids to respond to the momentum of the new venue.

Now there is some small buzz that Sounders FC are going to chat with Clavijo. In and of itself this is no big deal. Fernando is a recent MLS head coach, and we are indeed in the market for our first gaffer. Talking doesn't mean hiring. In this case, at least, it should never come to that.

I guess I could see Clavijo as an assistant, perhaps bringing his league knowledge to the club. If Sounders FC hire Brian Schmetzer then this could be a possibility. Schmetzer and Clavijo are friends and it was Fernando who gave Schmetzer his first coaching gig as his assistant on the 1997 Seattle Seadogs indoor soccer club. If Clavijo is willing to work under Schmetzer then perhaps he has something to offer.

Looking over Fernando's career record as a head coach in MLS and other competitions, he has turned out clubs that hover around the .500 mark and occasionally are worth a playoff upset or two. That's it. No titles in outdoor play. No superstars unearthed. No statistics that scream ' hire me as your first head coach.'

The connections between Chris Henderson, the current USL Sounders and Clavijo are interesting ones. Clavijo has sent us Jordan Harvey, Stephen Keel and Ciaran O'Brien on loan over the last few seasons when he was at Rapids. Adrian Hanauer has a working relationship with him. Chris Henderson was a player at Colorado for many years, and still leads that club in many all time categories, but he was traded by Clavijo in 2005 to Columbus Crew. Now Henderson is Sounders FC's technical director. He'll have a major say in who becomes the head coach.

Here's hoping that Sounders FC can separate 'the man' from 'his record.' It could be that Clavijo is a great guy. It could be that he has been a friend to the current USL Sounders over the last few years. It could be that Chris Henderson respects him despite being traded away from his longtime club. It could be that Fernando and Brian Schmetzer remain great pals.

Look beyond all that. Look at his coaching record. Nothing on it would indicate any form of excellence in the short or long term.

Sounders FC can do better than Clavijo for a head coach.


  1. Rumor in Denver has it that Clavijo had a job lined up for when his contract was up this December. This is from before his "resignation".

  2. It seems like Seattle is doing it right so far, with the socio model and what seems to be a strong fan base already. For your team's sake, let's hope Clavijo doesn't land with Seattle as head coach.

    Clavijo definitely made Colorado better in terms of talent on the field. The Rapids are better off than they were at the end of the disastrous Tim Hankinson era, but that really isn't saying much and most Rapids fans still remain unsatisfied with the direction the club is going.

    Good luck dodging this bullet.


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