The list of people reasonably qualified to serve as general manager of the United States men’s soccer program is not very long. One of the people on that hypothetical list is apparently Seattle Sounders GM Garth Lagerwey, according to a report from Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl.
Lagerwey didn’t exactly throw cold water on the idea when he was asked about it on Tuesday.
“I read in the paper that they’re looking for GM candidates,” he said. “I’m flattered to be considered. I’ve said a couple times, whether it’s working for U.S. Soccer or whether it’s my current role, I want to be part of the solution. There’s room for improvement there. That said I’m really happy with the Sounders. I really like my job. I think I have one of the best jobs in soccer. This is not something that I would leave lightly or without serious consideration. Right now I’m focused on trying to get these last couple of signings over the line before [CONCACAF] Champions League starts.”
It should be noted that Wahl was the first person to put Lagerwey’s name forward as a potential candidate back in October. That report came out in the aftermath of the USMNT’s failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. What’s notably changed since then is that Carlos Cordeiro has become the new USSF president and the GM role is no longer just an idea, with the federation approving GMs for both the men’s and women’s programs. The GMs would apparently report directly to USSF CEO Dan Flynn, but Cordeiro would likely have significant input into who was hired.
Lagerwey is probably about as good of a candidate for the position as anyone, at least on paper. In addition to ably running two very different MLS teams, Lagerwey also likes to point out that his pre-MLS front office career was as a lawyer with Latham & Watkins, the highest-grossing law firm in the world. There he learned such concepts as vertical integration and formed his managerial philosophies. It’s not hard to imagine this position appealing to his sensibilities.
If Lagerwey were to take the position in the next few months, Sounders Sporting Director Chris Henderson would likely assume most of the responsibilities and would seemingly be a strong candidate to be his permanent replacement.
Andrew Harvey did additional reporting for this story.