Dave Sarachan:  “It reinforced my belief that I can make a positive impact, that iIcan get the most out of people and … to be in a position of influence with especially young.  (Photo courtesy of the Rochester Rhinos)

By Michael Lewis

FrontRowSoccer.com Editor

While he was giving 23 players an opportunity to wear the Red, White and Blue of the U.S. men’s national team for the first time during his 13-month tenure as head coach, Dave Sarachan also was gaining something himself.

His experience reminded himthat he was still a leader as well.

From 2008 to 2017, Sarachan was an assistant or associate coach with the LA Galaxy or the U.S. national team under Bruce Arena. It was time to spread his wings as his own boss, as a head coach the first time since directing the Chicago Fire in Major League Soccer from 2003-2007.

“The experience for me over 13 months as the national team coach reinforced a lot of myself as a leader,” he said in a recent interview. “I feel the way I lead a team, which I’ve done whether it was in college or Chicago as a head coach, it reinforced my belief that I can make a positive impact, that iIcan get the most out of people and … to be in a position of influence with especially young. I really enjoyed coaching and teaching and leading a group of guys that I feel I’ve progressed from the beginning until the end. A very positive experience along with the fact it’s the national team. It’s setting itself up hopefully for better things to come as the calendar flips.”

As in January 2019, when Gregg Berhalter calls the shots on his first game as head coach after succeeding Sarachan. The Rochester, N.Y. native will direct North Carolina FC in the United Soccer League Championship.

During his time as national coach, Arena, with whom the 64-year-old Sarachan has had a long relationship, never chimed in with advice.

“No, no. Not one time,” Sarachan said.

And that worked the other way as well. Sarachan never asked for advice from Arena.

“No, I didn’t. I did it on my own,” he said. “I think Bruce would respect that. This was an opportunity honestly at the time. Nobody at U.S. Soccer was directing me in any way. No general manager. It was kind of chaotic at that level. I assembled my staff and we used our common sense to build rosters and put together teams, given my experience knowing how we scouted players and tried to determine all that. I didn’t solicit, and Bruce respectfully stayed away as well. That was the kind of the fun part for me as far building these rosters and going into these games with that in mind.”

Under Sarachan, the U.S. went 3-4-5.

Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Guardian.com. Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of BigAppleSoccer.com. He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at Amazon.com.