My esteemed colleague Uncle Tony P. yesterday presented a treatise on why Josh Wolff, the only head coach Austin FC has ever known, should lose his job.
I understand this sentiment, Josh Wolff has become a divisive figure amongst the fan base, who have ultimately split into a few camps, including #Wolffout, #WolffIn, #Wolffisntthebiggestissue, to fans in the Lexus Club who were #WhoisWolff?
When Rodolfo Borrell was hired, he of the impeccable resume said:
Many fans say we should “Let Rodo Cook” and part of this is acknowledging he wants Wolff as his Executive chef.
Rodolfo Borrell has done wonderful work at two of the biggest clubs in the world. He’s run top academies, brought forth some of the greatest players in the history of sport, and won every trophy possible in European football (many multiple times). So why would we doubt his ability to do it in a league designed for parity and with more responsibility than he’s had before?
Above all else, Wolff is consistent in his beliefs of how teams should play. As he stated last season the comebacks came from “Returning to our core principles” and he tried to institute a similar but more modern 3-4-3 system earlier this season that had mixed results mostly due to not having enough Centerbacks healthy, as he’s not the groin demon (we’ve seen them in the same time) the injuries aren’t his fault.
Injuries have been a major problem for the team. It only took 11′ for Austin FC to lose their first regular starter (Julio Cascante), lost starting LB Zan Kolmanic for the season, and went through the season with Leo Vaisanen, Alex Ring, and Sebastian Driussi all missing significant time. He was hired before Claudio Reyna and took over as Sporting Director when the USMNT debacle occurred earlier this season and Reyna was forced to step down. This was more responsibility than should have been placed on Wolff. He even said so, the front office instability led to overpays of players on the roster and bringing in players players who know the system. This shouldn’t have any influence on keeping Wolff the coach, and freeing him up that extra responsibility can only help his focus and attention on his main task: coaching the team.
Professional franchises do best when they have stability. One of the greatest managers in the history of the sport, Sir Alex Ferguson, famously took four seasons at Manchester United to win a trophy and that was without the limitations MLS puts onto roster changes. Wolff is at an even bigger disadvantage as this is his first head coaching job, Ferguson had already managed in other leagues and had a European Cup with Aberdeen to his name when he started at United. That experience is a big part of why he succeeded, Wolff is learning on the job and we’ve seen him improve.
In short, now is not the time to turn into unbelievers, we need to steadfastly stay the course despite current evidence because we have seen it work like, 35% of the time in the past.