The Tab Ramos era, if you can call it that, has officially come to an end with the club announcing that the head coach’s contract would not be extended after the 2021 season. Ramos was announced as the fourth full-time head coach in Houston Dynamo history on October 25, 2019 and led the team to a 10-26-21 record in his two seasons in charge. Assistant coaches Omid Namazi and Martin Vasquez are also not having their contracts extended.
New General Manager Pat Onstad now has a clean slate to work with and his search for a new head coach will begin immediately. The roster has a lot of work that needs to be done as well but Onstad’s first big task since being hired will be this hiring of a new head coach. Ramos was lauded as a good hire when Matt Jordan gave him the job two years ago, and we see now how that worked out. Onstad has a lot of pressure on him early in his tenure to get this right.
So, who will be the next head coach of Houston Dynamo FC? Let’s look at five names who could be on Onstad’s list of candidates. I have no inside information on the coaching search, these are all names who I believe will be or could be on the club’s radar.
Hendrickson is currently an assistant coach with the Columbus Crew under Caleb Porter, where he also worked with Pat Onstad, and has previously been an assistant with the Seattle Sounders under Sigi Schmid. The Vincentian also was the head coach of Seattle Sounders II from 2014-2018. Hendrickson has won MLS Cup with three different teams and his time under both Porter and Schmid have helped shape him in to one of the hot commodities in MLS. If it’s not the Dynamo that come calling, Hendrickson’s phone will be busy this offseason, nonetheless.
No introduction needed here. Rico is a Dynamo legend, and this would be a hiring that could surely excite the fan base. After winning two MLS Cups as a teammate of Onstad with the Dynamo and appearing in the 2010 World Cup, Clark retired and began coaching with the Dynamo Academy and the US U20 men’s national team. The Vancouver Whitecaps hired Rico as an assistant coach this season but with head coach Marc Dos Santos being let go by the Caps, Clark could be looking for another job as well. With some coaching experience now under his belt, would the club legend be ready to make the jump to a head coaching job?
Alonso was someone I had my eye on when the Dynamo ultimately hired Ramos. The Uruguayan ultimately did end up coming to Major League Soccer as head coach of Inter Miami. He lasted just one season in Miami, losing in the first round of the playoffs, and being replaced by Phil Neville. Alonso’s first stint in MLS may not look all that impressive but his previous stops prove he knows how to coach. He won the Liga MX Clausura in 2016 with Pachuca and became the first manager to win the CONCACAF Champions League with two different clubs (Pachuca 2017, Monterrey 2019). If the Dynamo want to tap into the massive Liga MX base in the Houston area, Alonso is a name that would resonate.
Mohamed is another name that is popular with fans of Liga MX. The Argentine has bounced around as manager at several clubs but has a history of winning trophies. He won Copa Sudamericana with Independiente in 2010 and has won the Liga MX Apertura with three different clubs (Tijuana 2012, Club America 2014, Monterrey 2019). “El Turco” has been out of work for a bit now so he could be looking to get back into the game and a job like Houston and a clean slate could be appealing.
Listen, let’s get the band back together! Kinnear resigned as manager of the Dynamo in 2014 and since then coached the San Jose Earthquakes and was an assistant, and interim manager, of the LA Galaxy. It’s probably very far-fetched to imagine Kinnear returning to Houston but, could you imagine? Could Onstad get his old manager back in Houston to try and bring back the glory days? New ownership and a new front office could be enticing for Dom to give it one more go.