Stats Stuff: The Coaching Search (USL Edition)

With the removal of Darren Powell, the only head coach that San Antonio FC has ever known it’s time to look at who could be the potential replacements, in this edition of Stats Stuff there’s an analytics look at the various coaching candidates with experience from USL’s leagues that could take the San Antonio FC hot seat.

Alen Marcina (Assistant Coach, San Antonio FC)

San Antonio has only won three meaningful trophies in professional soccer and Alen Marcina was the Head Coach for the team which won the most significant of them, the 2014 NASL soccer bowl. While his exit, fired at baggage claim, from that club may not have been the most glamorous, he brought success to the Alamo city, something Powell failed to do.

With a 72-15-29 record, Marcina has had success at what was then division two level, Marcina’s record is somewhat tempered when you realize the winning percentages which puts Marcina’s record when he was the full time record at slightly less than 42 percent. That said with proven success at what was then division two and the fact that he’s already with the club Marcina looms as a very likely replacement.

Jimmy Nielsen (Head Coach, Hartford Athletic)

A legend as a goalkeeper both in Denmark and Major League Soccer, Jimmy Nielsen has made a successful transition to management after his playing career Most notably with OKC Energy FC but now over with Hartford Athletic, Nielsen would be an impressive name for the position.

His coaching record is less impressive than his playing record, with the expansion side Nielsen struggled, winning just nine of 36 games, for a 25 percent record, but with an expansion side in a very difficult Eastern Conference that is to be expected. His time at OKC was a little better but not mind blowing, managing a 54-38-44 record in 136 games, for a slightly under 40 percent win percentage, however that did include three straight playoffs appearances. Nielsen can certainly attract talent and wouldn’t be seen as a backwards step which Marcina might, but the winning record is weak and there’s no indication he’d be interested in leaving Hartford.

Nikola Popovic (Most recently – Head Coach, Ottawa Fury FC)

One of the most successful managers in USL that San Antonio has a realistic chance of getting to take the job, Nikola Popovic would be a phenomenal lift for the club. While at Swope Park Rangers FC Popovic had a 20-9-7 for a 55 percent win percentage including winning the USL Western Conference in 2017.

Unfortunately Popovic’s time at Ottawa wasn’t quite as successful, resulting in a 30-17-34 record for a 37 percent winning record. That’s still right up there in the league and with Popovic released from Ottawa, not to mention his name being familiar for SSE he’d be a top candidate for any USL Championship team, assuming he doesn’t already have a job lined up.

Eric Quill (Head Coach, North Texas SC)

While he may not be a household name for San Antonio soccer fans, Eric Quill is one to keep an eye on and deserves a place in this list and consideration for the job. Quill won the USL League One regular season and playoffs this season with North Texas SC, which makes the move to San Antonio not only a short one but also a promotion.

In his year with North Texas Quill managed a 17-5-6 record for a 63 percent winning record, and led the team to 56 goals, a statistic that San Antonio FC certainly needs improvement in. The challenge for San Antonio FC would be prying him away from the FC Dallas set up which added League One as part of a phenomenal development pathway this season.

Tim Hankinson (Head Coach, Chattanooga Red Wolves)

The other man to have won professional soccer silverware in San Antonio, the 2012 NASL Regular Season, Tim Hankinson will always have a special place in San Antonio soccer, and was actually San Antonio FC’s original preferred option for the job when Powell took it but he ended up going to Indy Eleven.

Another man at a League One side, Hankinson managed a 10-11-8 record, a win percentage of just 34 but 11 draws make that look worse than it is, and if even half of those were converted the Red Wolves would have had a much better season. To look at Hankinson’s numbers with the Scorpions he has an even better record than Marcina, managing a 21-11-18 record for a 42 percent winning record. Hankinson would be a fine choice, but the same problem comes that there is for others on this list, prying him away from Chattanooga, but in Hankinson’s case it would be a promotion and something of a homecoming.

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