The New York Red Bulls coaching search has long been believed to involve two types of coaches: ones with MLS experience and foreign coaches. There now appears to be a candidate who fits both descriptions. That man is Walter Zenga.
The former New England Revolution goalkeeper and head coach has fashioned a modest coaching career in Italy, having enjoyed a good run with Catania before taking a more high-profile job with Palermo. He was recently let go by Palermo and is now being linked to the Red Bulls job.
(UPDATE-SBI has been learned that Zenga has NOT spoken with the Red Bulls about their coaching vacancy, but he IS interested in returning to coach in MLS. What does this mean? You can expect a Zenga-Red Bulls meeting to happen, unless Red Bulls GM Erik Soler is already closing in on one of the European-based candidates he is supposedly eyeing.)
New England fans who remember Zenga's failed tenure as Revs player-head coach in 1999 will probably scoff at the idea, but Zenga has worked hard in the past decade to establish himself as a well-respected coach in Europe, with a return to the Serie A sidelines a very real possibility. That is assuming he doesn't come back to the United States.
Would Zenga really return to MLS? You can bet on it.
Sources have told SBI for some time that Zenga has been wanting to come back to the United States, and while it might seem unlikely that a man who is a candidate to return to the Serie A coaching ranks would choose to come coach in MLS, Zenga is apparently eager to live in the USA.
Would a Zenga hire be good for New York? If the Red Bulls can convince Richie Williams to stay on as an assistant to Zenga, the club could wind up with the best of both worlds. They could have the big-name coach who could draw respect and interest from foreign players, while also keeping an MLS-savvy assistant who could help Zenga make up for the fact that he has been away from MLS for a decade.
Just to clarify, I still think hiring Williams is the best move New York can make, but since the Red Bulls look intent on hiring a foreign coach, they could do worse than Zenga, who while he has bounced around as a head coach (ten teams in ten years), he has enjoyed his share of success.
What do you think of the possibility of Zenga coaching the Red Bulls? Share your thoughts below.