San Antonio FC names Alen Marcina as new head coach: Why it could work and why it could not.

San Antonio FC named it’s second head coach in club history on Monday afternoon. Alen Marcina takes the helm for San Antonio FC’s upcoming fifth season. While Alen is familiar with the club and the city, stating a family first culture. The pressure is still there to succeed. SAFC only has one playoff appearance in the club’s first four seasons, a marquee city with a large population has seen other smaller club succeed in a shorter amount of time.

It’s only been a couple days since Alen Marcina was named head coach and the first news coming in the offseason was SAFC lost midfielder Jack Barmby (8 Goals and 5 Assists) to Phoenix Rising. The signing has frustrated many fans as it has become a common theme for Phoenix to poach front office personnel and players every year.

Some are quick to jump the gun and judge SAFC and Alen Marcina on the move, but such is life in the USL. It is rare for a player to stay long with one club mostly due to 99 percent of the league being on a one year contracts and a very small percentage have a club option for a second year but it does not mean much.

So before the silly season of the transfer window goes in full swing and the roster starts to take shape, let’s cover some reasons why Alen Marcina will succeed and some reasons why he won’t. In the end comes down to the play on the pitch and results over the next couple seasons.

Photo by: San Antonio FC

Reasons why Alen will succeed

Proven Winner.

Alen won the NASL Soccer Bowl the San Antonio Scorpions and led the Des Moines Menace to an undefeated season in 2018. The 2015 Scorpions finished in last but largely due to star players leaving and Gordon Hartman disbanding the club at the end of the 2015 season. Hartman probably saw the demise of the NASL written on the wall and jumped ship before it’s brutal end trying to fight the MLS. In 2016 Rayo OKC was mismanaged, ownership was shady and financial support was lacking by Spanish side Rayo Vallecano.

Can find quality talent.

Alen was able to bring in numerous star players to Rayo OKC; Billy Forbes, Pecka, Sebastein Ibeagha, Sebastain Velasquez, Marvin Chavez, Ryan Johnson and Moises Hernandez. He also scouted some the players who signed with San Antonio FC last season.

History with city.

Alen knows San Antonio, the culture and the people. He knows what the fans want and has strongly stated, he will implement a family first approach.

Pushes his players.

Alen has a military like style of leadership, quiet when he needs to be, vocal with players when they don’t meet his expectations. He pushes his player to be better versions of themselves. His coaching style makes the most out of any club.

Reasons why Alen won’t succeed

Familiarity breeds contempt.

Alen was part of the 2018 coaching staff that was responsible for missing the playoffs. Returning players could see it as part of the problem and may not respond to him well. Fans will also hold the 2018 season as a failure and Alen being partially to blame.

Riding coattails.

Alen’s success has been due to inheriting players from other coaches. The 2014 Scorpions be exhibit A for some. The team was brought mostly together by the previous Scorpions coach Tim Hankinson and the same said for the Des Moines Menace who are perennial contenders and produce quality players in their youth academy.

OKC Rayo debacle.

Alen’s record with Rayo OKC was an ominous 6-6-6 record with all the quality players on the roster and was unceremoniously dumped mid-season. He should have led the club to a better record in 2016 in an inferior NASL.

Pushing the pro academy.

Alen will push younger players to play on the first team earlier then they should, trying to develop them in a harsh and physical league of the USL.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately it will the performance on the pitch that will define Alen Marcina’s tenure with San Antonio FC. The club has some work to do to bring it’s core players back and replace the loss of Jack Barmby. SS&E, the club and Tim Holt have full confidence in Alen after their search for coach and Marcina is focused to bring a USL Championship to the Alamo City. Only time will tell.

Join the debate, do think Alen Marcina will succeed or fail? Let us know in the comments


1 Comment

  1. Most fans remember that Alen was part of the staff that built the Scorpions and the championship is is still fresh in our minds. I noticed that there was a bit of apathy on the pitch under Powell before Alen arrived and, think you’ll note, that the one game where SAFC clicked on all cylinders was the one Powell had to sit out because of a red card. There may have been some discord on Alen’s arrival since SAFC had some former Scorpions on the roster that were happy to see him and not so happy with Powell.

    Barnby’s loss isn’t a big loss. Powell just used him a lot when we had other players that had better passing games and potentially better at scoring. I hated seeing him on set pieces. It’s like how Powell took Forbes who is brilliant on assists and tried to make him our go to play maker while sitting Tyrpak who could’ve been our leading scorer. Instead, Billy’s goals went slightly up while his assists dropped. Alen can remedy that if Billy comes back and I think he will.

    I think Marcina will bring in some great defenders. I wonder if Greg Janicki is available?


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