Richard Farley (@richardfarley), who is the Deputy Editor of FourFourTwo USA published a piece on the magazine’s online site discussing the recent departure of Houston Dash head coach Randy Waldrum. FourFourTwo is an English magazine that has recruited some of the best soccer writers in the U.S. as part of their expansion into our market. This article is very well researched and demonstrates a level of knowledge and coverage about the Dash and NWSL that is lacking in any local publication. Not surprising, given that the Houston Chronicle doesn’t have a full-time staff reporter to cover the two professional teams in their city. Much of the most perceptive coverage of Texas soccer, especially in South Texas, comes from National or International media like FourFourTwo. The link to the complete article is below, but from my perspective the most interesting observations Farley made in the article were:
- How the college success Waldrum had at Notre Dame did not translate to the NWSL. As an example, Farley pointed to the challenge Waldrum faced with the different communications strategies needed for a college athlete, who will not be there for more than four years, and a more mature professional soccer player who doesn’t “graduate”.
- Despite the new responsibilities Waldrum inherited when Managing Director Brian Ching moved on and the fresh talent brought in during the offseason, the Dash made little progress this year and that is the main reason Waldrum is no longer in Houston.
- That Dynamo and Dash President Chris Canetti hopes to replace Waldrum within 3 weeks. This is the third coaching change Canetti has encountered in the last year. In the article Canetti commented on how the lessons he learned with the Dynamo coaching changes can be applied to the Dash coach search.
“I can say that without a doubt. I will say this: I did learn quite a bit from that process last year, of how things played out with [former Dynamo coaches] Owen [Coyle] and Wade [Barrett] and so forth, and will take, and have already taken away, my learning from that challenging situation and unfortunate situation and apply it to the Dash, here. They’re not connected, there are no ties there, but there’s definitely experience [to] take from it that can be learned and used.”
- In the article Farley pointed out that the Dash may not have the right mix of players to thrive in a competitive NWSL and that another offseason may be needed to rebuild the roster, especially establishing the right balance between the defense and midfield mix of players.