June 23, 2007
Nomadic coach finds a home
There’s a former coach of a Philadelphia team, who has lived somewhat of a nomadic lifestyle, going from team to team, winning games and then moving on to the next team.
No, we are not talking former 76ers coach Larry Brown here, but Omid Namazi, the former coach of the KiXX, who is now behind the bench for the expansion New Jersey IronMen.
Unlike Brown, however, Namazi’’s wandering has not been by choice, and his good reputation as a coach and a likeable guy have remained intact, if not improved along the way.
Namazi, who was a player-coach for the KiXX and led the team to the 2001-02 MISL Championship, left the City of Brotherly Love for—he thought—the greener pastures of the Women’s United Soccer Association.
In his first season with the San Diego Spirit, he turned a losing team into a playoff team.
Then the WUSA folded. Namazi landed on his feet and took the Cleveland Force to the MISL Championship Series in May 2005, only to lose in double overtime to the Milwaukee Wave. He was named the MISL’s coach of the year, and then his team folded.
Namazi moved to the St. Louis Steamers the following season, led the team to the MISL Championship Series, only to lose to the Baltimore Blast on a golden goal in overtime. Then the Steamers ceased operations.
Perhaps sensing a trend, Namazi took last season off from coaching. He was hired the by expansion Newark team in January and was formally named the club’s coach and Vice President of Soccer Operations earlier this week.
One of the winningest coaches in MISL history (137-85, .617) he already has started formulating the team, planning to return to the MISL Championship Series as soon as possible.
”I had a scouting trip down to Brazil,” he said. “I identified three players that will come on board.”
Namazi plans to use the MISL expansion and college drafts to stock the team, while also holding local tryouts, and scouting PDL and other clubs.
“The makeup of the team is going to have an international flavor to it. We’ll have Brazilian players, Serbian players, good old American players, we’ve got a Jamaican player, Gary Brooks, who played in Philadelphia and California before, so a little bit of everything” he said.
“We need to win,” said, noting that “Hopefully it won’t be any different (than with his past clubs).
“Not hopefully,” he said after a pause. “It won’t be.”
Namazi, who is now living in New Brunswick, NJ has more of a sense of security about his now job, since the team is owned by the owners of both the New Jersey Devils of the National Hockey League and the team’s arena, Prudential Center.
“I don’t think this team is folding anytime soon,” said Namazi.