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 World Cup ' 98

 U.S. Soccer plans to target youth after disastrous World Cup.
 Steve Sampson resigned as U.S. coach on June 29.
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U.S. Talks Coaching Vacancy With 3 Candidates

By Amy Shipley
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, July 13, 1998; Page C6

SAINT-DENIS, France, July 12 — U.S. Soccer Federation officials discussed the national team coaching vacancy with three highly regarded foreign coaches today in Paris and plan at least one more meeting Monday.

USSF officials met with Johan Cruyff of the Netherlands, Carlos Alberto Parreira of Brazil and Andy Roxburgh of Great Britain today and have scheduled a meeting with Ruud Gullit of the Netherlands, according to USSF Executive Director Hank Steinbrecher.

Steinbrecher said the discussions were not formal interviews and that the process of finding a coach to replace Steve Sampson, who resigned two weeks ago, was just getting underway. Steinbrecher also said USSF officials intend to contact D.C. United Coach Bruce Arena when they return to the United States this week.

Cruyff is considered the best Dutch player ever, and he competed for the now-defunct Washington Diplomats of the North American Soccer League; Parreira led Brazil to its 1994 World Cup title; and Roxburgh coached Scotland in the 1990 and 1992 European championships. Gul lit, 36, a former national team star for the Dutch, won the FA Cup in England with Chelsea in his first year as player-coach.

The USSF also intends to talk to former U.S. national team coach Bora Milutinovic, who coached Nigeria in this World Cup; Carlos Queiroz, who recently agreed to coach the United Arab Emirates; Netherlands Coach Guus Hiddink, who also played briefly with the Diplomats; former Norway coach Egil Olsen; and Francisco Maturana, who coached Colombia in the 1994 World Cup. Steinbrecher said informal conversations have taken place with Milutinovic, Queiroz and Maturana.

There are about 10 serious candidates for the coaching vacancy, Steinbrecher said. He also said the USSF had not decided whether to combine the national team job with one directing the USSF's nascent Project 2010, a development program designed to position the United States to win a World Cup by the year 2010. USSF President Alan Rothenberg, who could not be reached today, has said the jobs should be separate.

"There's a debate now about whether one person could do both," Steinbrecher said. "There are very few people in the world who could do both. Andy Roxburgh may be one of them."

Roxburgh is the technical director at the Union of European Football Associations, which would appear to qualify him for the non-coaching demands of the 2010 job.

Rothenberg's term as president expires Aug. 23, and he has said he would like to find a national team coach by then. But Parreira, who was offered the U.S. national team job before Sampson and declined it, told the USSF he did not want to make a decision on his future until December. Parreira was fired as the Saudi Arabian coach after the team lost its first two World Cup matches. He also coached Kuwait in 1992 and the United Arab Emirates in 1990.

"It depends if [Parreira's] the guy," Steinbrecher said. "I don't think he actively wants to coach until December. ... The reality is, we're really at the beginning of this."

About Cruyff, Steinbrecher said: "Cruyff played in the U.S. — he played for Alan in the U.S. He's one of the true geniuses in the game. He's a very powerful soccer figure."

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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