Tonight, in the City of Angels derby against Chivas USA, Cobi Jones will make his head coaching debut in the fishbowl of life that is the LA Galaxy. A few days ago, he was named the interim coach after the sudden exit of Ruud Gullit.
Jones, a Southern California native, was capped 164 times for the United States, featured in three World Cups (1994, 1998, 2002), and played his entire domestic career with the Galaxy. He exemplifies the quality and professionalism of the American player. Always doing what was asked of him by club and country. He was a true pro in every sense of the word.
Similar to Alex Del Piero of Juventus, Ryan Giggs of Manchester United, and Paolo Maldini of AC Milan, Jones is the flag bearer for a club. A symbol of consistency and commitment that is reminiscent of the past, and seldom seen any further in modern sport.
The United States is one of the few countries where the National Team coach has scant professional playing experience and/or never played for his country. We need to follow world soccer tradition, and one day see a former player sitting on the US bench.
If we want to improve US soccer collectively, it begins by giving former American players the opportunity to excel on the bench.