Julen Lopetegui Was Interested in Coaching USMNT but Got Turned Down

Julen Lopetegui. Photo by Ruben Albarran/REX/Shutterstock

The fact that Julen Lopetegui was undefeated while coaching Spain men’s national soccer team or that he was at the helm of La Liga giants Real Madrid wasn’t enough to convince the US Soccer Federation to consider him to take the vacant manager’s role with USMNT.

Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl reported that Lopetegui expressed interest in coaching the United States men’s national soccer team, but his approach was rejected. According to sources close to the team, the US Soccer’s reason was that they were “too far along in the process.”

The USMNT is without a permanent head coach since October 2017, when Bruce Arena stepped down after failing to qualify for World Cup. Arena’s former assistant Dave Sarachan is currently USMNT’s interim head coach.

US Soccer’s decision not to give Julen Lopetegui an opportunity to interview for the job is really odd considering his previous success. He coached both Spain U19 and Spain U21 team to European Championship in consecutive years and had a solid run with one of the most successful clubs in Portugal, FC Porto. Lopetegui took a head coaching job with Spain’s senior team in 2016 and went on 20-games undefeated run during which he won 14 games and had six draws.

Lopetegui was then appointed as manager of Real Madrid in the summer of 2018, but he couldn’t continue his successful run there and was sacked after coaching the team for only 14 games.

Julen Lopetegui’s unfortunate stint with Real doesn’t change the fact that he is one of the top managers available on the market and even if he wasn’t good enough for USMNT, there is no doubt that he will soon land another high-profile job.
US Soccer, on the other hand, continues their long search for a managerial solution, and it seems like they won’t wrap it up anytime soon.

Gunner's favorite movies are Pulp Fiction, Iron Man (just the first one), and every James Bond film ever made. He's learning TV and cinema and hoping to always enjoy movies as he does now.