U.S. Soccer appoints Mikey Varas as U-20 USMNT head coach
CHICAGO – U.S. Soccer has appointed Mikey Varas as the new head coach of the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team.
Varas most recently served as an assistant coach for FC Dallas under former head coach Luchi Gonzalez for three seasons. Fueled by a number of standout Homegrown players from the club’s vaunted academy, Dallas reached the MLS Cup playoffs in both of Varas’ full seasons on staff Those players included defenders Reggie Cannon, Justin Che and Bryan Reynolds, midfielders Paxton Pomykal, Brandon Servania and Tanner Tessmann as well as forwards Jesus Ferreira and Ricardo Pepi. All eight of those players spent time with the senior U.S. Men’s National Team while playing for Varas at FCD, while Cannon, Ferreira and Pepi have been called to the current senior USMNT roster for November World Cup qualifying.
“We’re thrilled to bring Mikey on board to lead our U-20 Men’s National Team,” USMNT General Manager Brian McBride said. “This summer’s Concacaf Championship has taken on even more importance now that it also serves as Olympic qualification, and we’re confident that Mikey has the right qualities to continue our success at the U-20 level. This age group has been critical in advancing players to our senior Men’s National Team and Mikey’s experience developing players from the FC Dallas Academy to become successful pros makes him an excellent choice for this role.”
Varas joined FC Dallas in fall 2017 as head coach of the U-16 team after he connected with Gonzalez, then FCD’s Academy director, while the two pursued their U.S. Soccer “A” Coaching Licenses in 2013. FC Dallas signed nine Homegrown players during Varas’ tenure and during his first year on staff, Homegrowns played almost 5,000 more minutes than the previous season. In March of 2019, Dallas tied an MLS record by playing seven Homegrowns in one match, which was against the Colorado Rapids.
Prior to FC Dallas, Varas worked with the Sacramento Republic academy and was named U.S. Soccer Development Academy West Conference U-14 Coach of the Year for the 2016-17 season.
“There’s an overwhelming sense of honor and pride to be able to represent the U.S.,” Varas said. “I’m going to represent our country with uncompromising honor, passion and dedication. I’m going to put my heart and soul into every minute that I’m in this role. From the current senior National Team to youth players, you see an exciting generation, not one that’s going to come and disappear, but a consistent future for our country. It’s very exciting to be able to work with that top talent.
“There’s huge alignment between what we were trying to do at Dallas and what Gregg Berhalter is doing with the USMNT. When I went to FC Dallas as an academy coach, I had it clear that my purpose was to develop as many pros as possible. What can we do to maximize the potential of talent that we have the honor of helping nurture? My purpose is to advance these players.”
A San Francisco Bay Area native, Varas played four years at the University of San Francisco and trained in Chile for a season with the CD Santiago Wanderers before shifting to focus on coaching. He studied at clubs in Argentina, Italy and Spain before launching his career on the touchline in the San Francisco suburbs with Burlingame Soccer Club. Varas also spent time as Director of Coaching for Burlingame’s Gamer Futsal School and Regional Coordinator for the NorCal Premier Soccer Player Development Program. He served as head coach of U-12, U-17 and U-19 teams at De Anza Force in the ECNL before joining the U.S. Soccer Development Academy with Sacramento in 2016.
In addition to his U.S. Soccer “A” Coaching License, Varas is fluent in Spanish and holds a Master’s degree in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Physical Education from Fresno Pacific University.