Dave Sarachan, who oversaw the U.S. men’s national soccer team on an interim basis for a year after the failure to qualify for the World Cup , is the front-runner to become head coach of second-division North Carolina FC, multiple sources told the Insider.
Sarachan, 64, said in a phone interview “there is interest on both sides” but declined to elaborate on the extent of the talks. Curt Johnson, NCFC’s president and general manager, did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.
NCFC, which is based in the Raleigh suburb of Cary, has been seeking a coach since parting ways in October with Colin Clarke after his seventh season ended with a 13-13-8 record and no playoff appearance.
Sarachan was Bruce Arena ‘s top assistant with the Los Angeles Galaxy in MLS before following Arena to the national team in late 2016. When Arena departed the U.S. program last year in the wake of the World Cup qualifying fiasco in Trinidad and Tobago, the U.S. Soccer Federation appointed Sarachan as the interim head coach.
He remained in the job until last month. His record was 3-5-4, mostly against elite opponents, and he was widely credited with steering the program through a tumultuous period and integrating several young players.
This month, the USSF filled the position by hiring former Columbus Crew coach Gregg Berhalter.
Sarachan has been an assistant during most of his 35-year coaching career, but between 2003 and ’07, he held the head job for Chicago in MLS. In his first year, the Fire advanced to MLS Cup and won the U.S. Open Cup; he was named coach of the year.
North Carolina FC, formerly known as the Carolina RailHawks, plays at WakeMed Soccer Park, a 10,000-seat facility that has hosted U.S. men’s and women’s national team matches and College Cups regularly. The team moved to the United Soccer League from the financially troubled North American Soccer League last winter.
The organization also owns the North Carolina Courage – the National Women’s Soccer League reigning champion – and operates a large youth academy.