Former U.S. international Jimmy Conrad has been excited to see his former national team colleagues Landon Donovan and Tim Howard jump into the front office at new clubs in the USL Championship since their playing careers came to an end.
Like many, San Francisco Glens SC Head Coach Jimmy Conrad has been excited to see his former U.S. Men’s National Team colleagues like Tim Howard (Memphis 901 FC) and Landon Donovan (San Diego Loyal SC) jump into management roles in the USL Championship.
There’s only one detail that he’s bummed out about, in fact.
“I’m kinda sad that I’m in League Two so I can’t really coach against them initially, but you never know,” Conrad told the USL’s Ryan Madden with a laugh on Instagram Live on Sunday while hoping for a U.S. Open Cup matchup somewhere down the line. “I think that would be really neat at some point to go and Head Coach against some of my friends.”
Conrad is one of numerous members of the United States’ squad at the 2006 FIFA World Cup now involved in the management side of the game both in Major League Soccer and in the USL. He could be soon joined by DaMarcus Beasley, who recently spoke about his ambition to bring a USL League One team to his hometown of Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Since the end of his playing career, Landon Donovan has been in the center of the launch of San Diego Loyal SC while also serving as the club's first Manager on the sidelines. | Photo courtesy Charis Wilson / Tacoma Defiance
Former U.S. Men's National Team player Tim Howard is now the General Manager for Memphis 901 FC, which saw large crowds welcome its inaugural season in 2019 at AutoZone Park.
What’s impressed Conrad about the way Donovan, Howard and Beasley are going about things is the willingness to put in the work to make their new clubs succeed both on and off the field.
“Everybody kind of suffers this letdown because your whole identity is wrapped up in being a player and all of a sudden that’s gone,” said Conrad. “For those guys in particular, who have vastly more experience than me, they kind of saw it for what it was. They knew that if they were going to be good at whatever the next thing was, you can’t skip any steps.”
For Conrad – whose big personality away from the field resulted in great success in the game’s digital sphere after he stepped away – the realization that there was more to it than having a famous name was key to arriving at his current role leading the Glens’ USL League Two side.
“For me, initially I was like, ‘well, I played in a World Cup. Where are the jobs, baby?!’” Conrad said with a laugh. “You see some guys who immediately got MLS head coaching jobs or were all-of-a-sudden in the national team pool and you were like, ‘uh, yeah, that’s not happening for me, why isn’t my phone ringing?’ There was a little bit of entitlement there, and I worked through that.”
A teammate of both Landon Donovan and Tim Howard on the United States' squad for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Jimmy Conrad is now the Head Coach for USL League Two's San Francisco Glens SC. | Photo courtesy SF Glens
As someone working at the League Two level in San Francisco, though, Conrad is happy to see the vision Donovan and Howard have shown to build clubs in the Championship, which in turn is giving new communities the chance to embrace professional soccer in the way both Memphis and San Diego and many other cities around the country have over recent years.
“What I like about those guys is they could see the opportunity in USL,” said Conrad. “That it is a very important part of growing this game in this country, and it’s such a vibrant part of it. I love that they’ve jumped in.”