Despite the Mexican Football Federation’s attempt to keep him on board, head coach Juan Carlos Osorio has decided to move on.
Osorio has turned down Mexico’s offer of a contract extension and will leave the job he has held since 2015, a source close to Osorio confirmed to Goal on Thursday.
Osorio has not accepted another position yet and, while he hasn’t finalized his next job, the Colombia national team and United States national team positions are the leading possibilities for the 56-year-old.
The decision comes as no surprise to those close to Osorio, who were well aware of his desire to pursue a new challenge after a tumultuous three years with Mexico.
The traumatic 7-0 loss to Chile in the 2016 Copa America nearly led to him being forced out, but Osorio survived and went on to help lead Mexico to a first-place finish in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.
The Chile loss cast a long shadow on Osorio’s tenure as coach. He was never fully embraced by the Mexican fan base, and the national media regularly criticized his decisions and tactics.
Osorio is less than a month removed from guiding Mexico to another run to the last 16 at the World Cup, though the team’s inability to reach the quarterfinals put a damper on what was seen as an impressive showing by El Tri, which lost to Brazil in the round of 16. Mexico’s World Cup opening victory against Germany boosted Osorio’s profile, as his tactics helped El Tri surprise the reigning World Cup champions.
By the end of the finals, Osorio had helped improve his standing in Mexico, but the team’s memorable run in Russia wasn’t enough to convince him to stay in for another cycle, a decision that leaves Mexico once again needing to rebuild.
As for Osorio’s future, he is believed to be a leading candidate to replace Jose Pekerman as Colombia coach, with Pekerman having been linked to a position as director of football for the Argentina national team. Osorio, who is currently in Colombia, has long seen the Colombia job as a dream position, and one he covets even more than a club position in Europe.
Osorio’s next move could come down to whether he is seriously considered for the U.S. national team job. The former Chicago Fire and New York Red Bulls coach spent a large part of his young life in the United States, where both his sons were born and where he went to college and began his coaching career.
Osorio told Goal in April that it would be difficult to say no to a chance to coach the USMNT. At the moment, Columbus Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter is considered the front-runner for the position, and it is not known whether USMNT general manager Earnie Stewart or anyone from U.S. Soccer has contacted Osorio about the position.
The USMNT faces Mexico in a friendly on September 11.
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