Milutinovic Unclear on Future, but Any U.S. Plans Rest on Vote
Divining the mind of Bora Milutinovic, coach of the U.S. World Cup soccer team, is a speculative enterprise, at best. He’s not divulging his plans, although he does remind those who ask that he is under contract to the U.S. Soccer Federation until the end of the year.
Still, Milutinovic’s future as national coach has been in a holding pattern since the World Cup ended last month. His fortunes are tied to today’s USSF elections and turn on the outcome of the vote for president. The USSF president has the most influence in choosing the national coach.
But if he is chosen, will he want the job again?
It is generally believed that Milutinovic would like to stay in Southern California. He likes the climate, he and his wife are close to their home and family in Mexico, and their 9-year-old daughter Darinka needs stability, now that she’s in school.
Milutinovic probably will use his leverage to ask for more money and better terms. Many in the USSF would like Milutinovic to coach the Olympic team, which he does not want to do.
Ultimately, however, the decision on Milutinovic’s future is in the hands of the next USSF president. A poll of the four candidates elicited the following responses:
Alan Rothenberg--"Whatever Bora wants is what Bora gets. He’ll remain as coach of the World Cup team, but he can do other things as well.”
Richard Groff--"I think he is an excellent coach. In my opinion, he’s an underused asset.”
Hank des Bordes--"I’m very pleased with the job he did. Bora proved he could do it. My only concern would be his salary demands.”
Louis Palivos--"I come down on the side of Americans. I think our team should be coached by an American.”