The Houston Dash yesterday announced Juan Carlos Amoros as the new interim head coach. Amoros becomes the interim to the first interim head coach Sarah Lowdon who replaced the actual coach James Clarkson ahead of Houston's NWSL season opener on May 1st. What this move likely means is that Clarkson will never coach the Houston Dash again. What does it mean for the team and its future?
Amoros brings a plethora of experience from abroad having successfully guided teams in the Women's Premier League and in Spain's Primera League. Randy Waldrum, Houston's first ever head coach once told me that he wanted to create a team that could be a women's version of FC Barcelona. Now we have a Spanish style coach, who just might do that.
The real question though is why this move and why now. Lowdon with no head coaching experience has led the Dash to their best start ever. She had the team playing the best ball of their life with just one hiccup that came this past weekend. The McNeese University alum smoothly stepped into the chaos that could have come from Clarkson's removal and guided Houston to early season success.
According to team president Jessica O'Neill, coach Lowdon was aware that while she was the interim head coach, the team would be conducting a search for a more experienced interim head coach. O'Neill shared with media that this move was driven by the players.
“Some of the feedback in the initial conversations with the players about the direction with an interim coach, that maybe surprised a couple of people yesterday, the timing of the announcement, we're in the middle of the season. The important thing was that, this was a request directly from them, that there is an external interim hire. Someone that we see having a long-term future with a club, rather than finding a short-term solution to carry us through the season."
Does this imply that Lowdon did not have what it took to be "the hire." Sometimes head coaches come the most unlikely of places. Take Eric Spoelstra of the Miami Heat who began as the team's video coordinator in 1995. Like Lowdon, he had never been a head coach either and what he has accomplished since.
Amoros comes into the position with his eyes wide open. He understands that this is an audition for the permanent position once Clarkson's case is resolved.
"Realistically, I don't look at the job title, I look at the opportunity. I think the opportunity to be with the Dash and as I said with the project, what they want to do for the players, what they want to do for the staff, for the city. It's something I really identify myself with. So, I think I'm not really focused on the job title, I'm more focused on the job at hand that is very exciting."
Houston has gone out once again and brought in a talented coach with a winning background. The question now is how long will it take for the coach and the players to get on the same page. Does the move derail or enhance what Sarah Lowdon put in place, only time will tell.