One of the downsides to organizational stability is that there’s only so much room for advancement. Over the last several years, the Seattle Sounders have lost numerous assistant coaches and front-office personnel almost exclusively because they were getting promotions upon their departure.
Freddy Juarez may end up being the latest casualty. The Sounders assistant coach is among the finalists for the top job at Charlotte FC, according to The Athletic’s Tom Bogert. Juarez is one of a handful of finalists, along with Frank Lampard and Dean Smith, the latter of whom most recently coached Leicester City.
Juarez came to the Sounders in September 2021, after stepping down the prior month from the head coaching job at Real Salt Lake. The 45-year-old was brought in to help bolster the coaching staff after both Gonzalo Pineda and Djimi Traore left earlier that season. He had gone 18-23-14 over parts of three seasons at RSL after leading Real Monarchs for three seasons (2014-16) and spending parts of four seasons as an assistant for the first team (2016-2019). The move to the Sounders – which was effectively an unprecedented decision to step down from an MLS head coaching gig to take an assistant job within the league – was an attempt to find some stability as new ownership had taken over at RSL and it was unclear if he would be retained.
Although the Sounders don't have a clear hierarchy among their assistants, Juarez is generally considered Schmetzer's right-hand man and often leads training sessions. Schmetzer has largely credited Juarez with leading the transition to the Sounders' new model of play and with being one of the key tacticians for their successful Concacaf Champions League run last year.