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NTR: Jose Mourinho, aka "The Special One," Would Struggle in MLS

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Mourinho, the "best coach in the world," has now officially gone on record as saying he would like to, one day 10-15 years from now, coach an MLS team and live in the United States. Can't say I'm surprised to be honest. While our league certainly isn't up to the standards of top European leagues, the United States still represents a certain quality of living that few other nations can truly match, especially if you're well-off. If you have money and live in New York or Los Angeles (primarily) then opulence reigns. So it comes as no surprise to me that he wants to "one day" coach in MLS, nor am I ever surprised when "such and such" amazing player says the same.

For those of you who don't know who Jose Mourinho is, he is the former Chelsea and Inter Milan coach and current Real Madrid coach, an impressive resume. What's more is that at his past two positions he coached both teams to success on the field winning trophies left and right, or so it seemed. Because of this he is regarded to be one of the best coaches in the world, if not the best.

 

So when I say that Jose Mourinho would struggle in MLS I don't say that flippantly with no weight behind it. I mean, let's look at what has made him such a great coach in past:

For starters, each club he's coached plays in a non-restrictive environment. Basically, what I mean by this is, if you have the money -- and Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid certainly do -- then you can pretty much buy whoever you want to strengthen your team. Jose Mourinho certainly has an eye for great talent and slotting in players with others who work well together, no doubt about it. Were he to come over here, he would be met with a salary cap and a slew of other player rules that would severely limit his options.

But let's assume there was no salary cap, even if Jose could buy whoever he wanted, he would still struggle to attract many top prospects. I can't say for certain what MLS will be like in 10-15 years, but I can tell you that one of the primary reasons to play in the UEFA block is to participate in said tournaments. While we have the CCL, it's far and away the step child of the second-cousin twice removed part of FIFA tournament family. Bottom line, until the CCL is able to match the UEFA Champions League there will be less of an incentive to get quality players to America.

Finally, I don't believe I need to tell anybody here just how odd our league is compared to European leagues. While foreign coaches can be successful (Hans Backe is a great example of that) typically when new coaches come in from overseas, even "esteemed" ones such Ruud Gullitt, they find that our league's oddball methods to be too much to grasp when coming from such a free and open system as many European leagues.

Anyway, my point for writing this article was simply to quell any high hopes that Jose Mourinho would come into the league and just light the place on fire. I'm not saying he can't be successful at all, especially since I don't know what MLS will be like in 2025, I'm just saying, given our various curiosities he probably would not adapt very easily and would struggle because of it. Then again, if he's mastered  Europe, maybe he'll enjoy a fresh challenge.