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Club Tijuana’s Óscar Pareja opens up about “wild” month

New Xolos DT Óscar Pareja talks about leaving FC Dallas, interviewing for the USMNT job, and coming to Tijuana.

Sporting Director Ignacio Palou and Club President Jorgealberto Hank welcome new Club Tijuana manager Óscar Pareja to the team.
Sporting Director Ignacio Palou (left) and Club President Jorgealberto Hank (right) welcome new Club Tijuana manager Óscar Pareja to the team.
Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente press release

Club Tijuana hosted two press conferences on Friday to unveil new manager Óscar Pareja to the media. In the most Tijuana of things, the first press conference was streamed live on twitter and was mostly in Spanish, although ESPN FC’s Cesar Hernandez and MORE FM’s Nate Abaurrea asked questions in English and the second was a conference call about an hour later that was mostly in English, with the occasional question in Spanish.

Pareja opened up about a variety of things, ranging from anticipated tactics to the interest shown to him by the United States Men’s National Team. You can watch the live press conference in the tweet below (it starts at around the 18 minute mark), although most of these questions are in Spanish.

Pareja said that he was very grateful, both from FC Dallas and Major League Soccer for the opportunities that he had there as well as for the new opportunity presented to him with Club Tijuana. He thanked Club Tijuana President Jorgealberto Hank, General Sporting Director Ignacio Palou, and Sporting Director Roberto Cornejo as well as the fans and existing staff in Tijuana.

Pareja also went into a bit of depth about how he came to be the head coach at Tijuana. Answering a question posed by MORE FM’s Nate Abaurrea in the first press conference, he remarked that the past month had been “quite wild” and confirmed that he had been interviewed by the United States Soccer Federation for the open position with the Men’s National Team. “It has been a privilege to be part of the process and to be interviewed for the (United States) National Team” Pareja said, noting it had been a dream of his for many years “but after that I received an invitation from Nacho (Palou) and Jorge and Roberto to be part of Club Tijuana. It was a great opportunity also, and we were proud of being participants in that process of (selecting) a national team coach in the USA, but at the same time accepting this job has been a great privilege.”

In the second press conference, he clarified this a bit to Pro Soccer USA’s Arman Kafai. “We obviously finished the season there (in Dallas),” he said, “I was in the process to be selected as the national team coach in the USA. I was being interviewed and had a week or two in that process, and after the end of the season. At the same time I received an invitation to come to Tijuana. It was something we were analyzing... I spoke with Jorge and Nacho and told them it would be great for me to take this challenge. I spoke with the people in Dallas as well, telling them it probably would be a good time for me to just move and refresh myself and get a different experience, but at the same time to provide our club there at FC Dallas (time) just to refresh and bring somebody else in.”

He noted that “at the end, I received the news from the federation that they will be selecting the other candidate, and two days after I accepted the job in Tijuana.” The other candidate turned out to be former Columbus Crew SC head coach Gregg Berhalter.