The San Diego Spirit have relieved head coach Carlos Juarez of his duties effective immediately, Spirit general manager Kevin Crow announced today. Juarez, who compiled a 9-11-9 record in his time at the helm of the club, becomes the first coach dismissed in WUSA history.
Crow, a former U.S. National Team player who played nine years of indoor with San Diego Sockers, and was a member of the 1984 and 1988 U.S. Olympic Soccer Teams, will take over the coaching duties on an interim basis until a new coach is hired.
“The team under-performed last year and missed the playoffs,” said Crow. “We needed a good start this year and it has not happened. We are under-performing again and at risk of not making the playoffs for the second straight year, which is totally unacceptable.”
Juarez was hired as the first coach of the Spirit on November 7, 2000. Assistant coach Martin Vasquez was also let go. Goalkeeper coach Tom Tate was retained and will serve as Crow’s assistant.
The Spirit struggled through most of last season before making a late run to finish at 7-7-7-, but missed the playoffs by four points, ending the season in fifth place. This season the Spirit stumbled out of the gate, playing inconsistently, as witnessed by a 6-1 win over New York and a 1-0 victory over first-place Philadelphia combined with a 2-1 loss to last place New York and a 3-0 loss to the Washington Freedom, one of two shutout losses at home. The Spirit has won just two of its first five home games.
AT 2-4-2 on the season with just eight points, and the Spirit needing at least 22-25 points from the next 13 matches to make a run for the playoffs, Crow made the decision to make a change.
“I’ll soon see first-hand which players have the ability and dedication to make a run at the playoffs,” said Crow. “We have a very talented and hard-working team, we just need to get mentally tougher and find ways to win games.”