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Jim Curtin to return as Union head coach in 2018

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Jim Curtin will return as Philadelphia Union head coach in 2018.

Union sporting director Earnie Stewart announced the decision Wednesday during a joint press conference with Curtin.

“I think he’s a big part of this foundation that we’ve laid down,” Stewart said.

Curtin has been Union head coach since mid-2014. The Union have reached two U.S. Open Cup finals and made the MLS playoffs in 2016 under Curtin. This year, they were the only MLS club to miss the playoffs despite recording a positive goal differential.

A recent PSP poll found that 70 percent of respondents did not believe Curtin should return as head coach in 2018.

The Union have never won an MLS playoff game.

Career record — Jim Curtin
  • 2014: 7-5-6 (6th place, East; 1.5 ppg; runner-up, U.S. Open Cup)
  • 2015: 10-17-7 (9th place, East; 1.09 ppg; runner-up, U.S. Open Cup)
  • 2016: 11-14-9 (6th place, East; 1.24 ppg; knocked out of MLS playoffs first round)
  • 2017: 11-14-9 (8th place, East; 1.24 ppg)
  • Total: 38-50-31 (1.22 ppg)

26 Comments

  1. phil in wilmington says:

    “I think he’s a big part of this foundation that we’ve laid down,” Stewart said.

    He’s part of something being laid, just seems more like an egg than a foundation.

    *kicks pebble on ground and shuffles away with hands in pockets and head down…*

  2. Whatever your view of the soundness of the decision, it it truly surprising?

    • Not when I predicted it and what will happen next. Not surprised at all.

    • Atomic Spartan says:

      Not surprising. Maddening, yes. We get to watch yet another year of an apprentice at the helm without the benefit of a master to guide him. No flexibility, no concept of sound attacking futbol, except vs. lesser teams. Inadequate footy acumen for the current edition of MLS. A lot of things were wrong about the Union in 2017, and it looks like the housecleaning will get rid of a lot of the waste. But not enough.
      .
      Five year plan? JC for 3 more years? Or is Earnie keeping JC as an affordable placeholder?

      • There have been reports that the rest of the coaching staff will have some clearing out. Maybe they will bring in someone more experienced to help. Probably not, but maybe.

      • Stewart just stated all the backroom staff will be coming back except Ola.

      • Well then, forget that comment.

      • Shame about Oka leaving. Blake and McCarthy both improved significantly this year from the previous season, and we finally achieved stability at the GK position for the first time in team history. All that happened since Oka has been the GK coach. Maybe he realized Curtin was holding him back…

  3. Mid-season I said he’d be coming back, and he is. As for the other part of my prediction then, Curtin gets another retooled roster to see what he can do (not much). If he fails miserably early on, he will be gone by mid-season. If they don’t flounder, he’s here till the end, and maybe the season after. Stewart’s five year plan has been hitched to Curtin and they will live and die together.

    • I’m OK with this. I have not seen evidence that Curtin is a great coach, but coaches don’t make as much difference as people think (and there is evidence for this). And Stewart clearly just did not give him the right pieces. First half of next season is all he deserves, however, if the team does not show improvement.

      • I’ve seen enough to know I’ve seen enough, and that was a year or two ago. Again I ask. What does Curtin do to make this team or it’s players better? There still has yet to be an answer to this question.

      • A good coach doesn’t make that much of a difference… a bad coach makes a HUGE difference!

      • By the same token, managerial turmoil is not good for any team. So it has to be worthwhile, or else there isn’t a reason to bother.

  4. OneManWolfpack says:

    Ugh… after reading the roster turnover article and being excited and I am completely taken back down a peg with this news. This roster better be the THE BEST EVER CONSTRUCTED FOR THIS TEAM… because it is going to have to succeed in spite of Curtin

    • Come on really? I mean we were legit a top team in the league in 2016 until Nogs left. Curtin may not be a great coach, but he’s not the worst thing ever. He roughly gets the results based on the talent, no more or less, over a full season.

      • And you don’t think that Curtin was the reason that Nogs left? Whatever it was, it wasn’t homesickness.
        .
        Curtin’s 38-50-31 record argues with your statement. It is the worst 4yr record by any coach in MLS.
        .
        Any time the Union win it’s despite Curtin.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        With the way this team constructs its roster, year after FREAKIN YEAR, we need a coach/manager that can make the team better. Period. So, unless this team’s roster is dramatically improved by spending money – and NOTHING TELLS ME THEY WILL DO THIS – how does keeping Curtin make us better? We don’t need a guy going into his 3rd full year, still learning. We need a proven manager who has the ability to get more out of the “not good enough” roster he will, inevitably, be given.

      • Rey I don’t necessarily think it was homesickness, more depression. This is pure speculation on my part. At the time, France was also going through their uptick in terrorist activities. I know I’d rather be in my home country with my family, if there were routinely terrorist attacks (homesickness sort of?).

      • If they aren’t spending money on proven players what makes you think they would spend it on a proven manager?

      • The official line was an “undisclosed personal health issue”, and to be fair he was battling injuries in ’16, but he was playing again as soon as he got back to France.
        .
        Maybe he did just decided he didn’t like being in the US anymore, but I have to think that his job factored into it somehow. Especially when he’s leaving just in time to start the European leagues.

      • None of us know why Nogs left. For everyone’s sake, we probably should not speculate. I just hope things are better for him now.

  5. I’m done. I just don’t care anymore.
    I remember in 2012 when my life revolved around matchday. I moved in 2014 and couldn’t go to the match often, but still made sure to time my trips for when the U played. I subscribed to MLS Live every season I’ve lived down here until this one. I couldn’t bring myself to care enough to do it. As the season wore on I’d find myself forgetting the Union were even playing until I checked Twitter.
    But this is it, I just don’t care anymore. We’re going to bring back our mediocre coach, and claim to be a “player development team” without developing any players. Great. Have fun. I sincerely mean that to y’all, since the match going experience is still fun. But I’ve got the Sixers, Eagles, and Phillies. And I’ve got the EPL for my soccer fix. But I just don’t care about this club enough anymore to do more than read their section in the PSP news roundups.
    The only part that worries me is if they’re losing supporters like myself, how long until they lose supporters in the Delaware Valley?

    • It’s happened/happening in regards to losing supporters in Del Val. I’ve come to the point that towards the end of the season I would just tune in to check the lineups to see that they were the same. Then I’d just flip back and forth till the Union were losing or did something totally abysmal and then go do something else.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      I still care, but it has waned. I am still a STH, but have stated this is my last year, unless real changes are made.
      .
      Three check marks: Roster, manager, money spent. I was encouraged with the roster turnover announced and now angered that Curtin will again be leading the team. Only chance left is to spend money and build a team strong enough to win no matter who the manager is. Sadly, I’m not holding my breath.

      • SpringCityPhil says:

        I’ve Moved on from the Union and just go to Reading Utd. games. Closer, cheaper and more exciting. This coming from someone who used to go to EVERY Union home game.

  6. Glad I did not renew. Will still be able to find plenty of tickets on Stubhub or freebees, if I feel like going

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