U.S. Soccer announced on Thursday that Nelson Rodriguez, who as of last month was Chivas USA president prior to that team ceasing operations, has been appointed to a new position within the federation. At the request of USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, the position of Managing Director of National Team Advisory Services has been established. That's a fancy way, it appears, to say that Rodriguez will be advising players, particularly youth players and young professionals in learning the ropes of professional soccer.
To put it glibly, it sounds like Rodriguez will be the U.S. Soccer guidance counselor. But as anyone who had terrible guidance counselors knows (like me, thanks WKHS), getting some practical information when embarking on adulthood can sometimes be really useful. It's easier to get some key info ahead of time, rather than learn you're doing it all wrong and before long you're stranded in the third division of Portugal with no prospects of playing (Ok, I switched to a player's perspective there...that never happened to me).
The release from U.S. Soccer lists several components for the new job:
- Player evaluations (technical, tactical, performance fitness, mindset, personal development) to indicate the readiness to turn professional
- Educational offerings on key topics related to being a professional player (personal finances, representation, time management, etc.)
- Evaluations of clubs/leagues to indicate the best "fit" for a player - balancing the style of league play with the physical attributes, talent, technique and mentality of the player
- Assistance when players are professionals as they make major transitions (such as transfers, retirement from playing)
- Assistance with navigating the FIFA regulations that govern the status of transfers, eligibility to play for US national teams (if change of association is required, etc.), player releases during FIFA fixture dates, FIFA transfer windows, etc.
So again, calling Rodriguez a guidance counselor sounds like a joke, but it actually does seem like a pretty important job. Best of luck to him in his latest endeavor.
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