MANILA – United City has tapped English coach Jason Withe to join the coaching staff for the upcoming season which will begin with a stint in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League group stages.
Withe, who led Thai League 1 clubs Police Tero and Sukhothai to the said continental competition in 2001 and 2017, respectively, will join Frank Muescan’s coaching staff with the reigning Philippines Football League (PFL) champion.
“I think Jason is [a] tremendously established coach. You’ve seen his resume. He has coached on the FIFA World Cup and AFC Champions League level. He has experience on the national teams, and he understands Asian football,” United City owner Eric Gottschalk said on Sunday night at the Eat Sleep Breathe Football podcast.
He confirmed that Withe will be the club’s “head coach” for the AFC Champions League, but his role is not exactly that of a chief tactician.
“We cannot expect from him that he knows the players very well, so the shot calling is still with [playing assistant coach] Stephan [Schrock] and Frank,” Gottschalk bared.
On why they still signed Withe, Gottschalk explained, “With us qualifying for the AFC Champions League, we needed a UEFA or Asian pro license coach.”
Withe, who was part of West Bromwich Albion’s youth squad during the late ’80s, got his pro license from UEFA in 2006.
This also explains why United City had to finally let go of Trevor Morgan, who despite being named the club’s head coach last PFL season did not even get to step on Philippine ground mainly due to the travel restrictions caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.
Meanwhile, Gottschalk implied that Withe would be more of a de facto coaching consultant.
“He will give vital feedback,” Gottschalk said.
The Withe-Muescan setup is similar to the coach-consultant setup in basketball that gained traction in recent years especially among foreign coaches due to restrictions set by the Basketball Coaches Association of the Philippines.
However, this setup came under fire recently due to the initial confusion that arose after Chris Gavina became Rain Or Shine’s head coach and Caloy Garcia became the coaching consultant and head of basketball operations, which the team later clarified.
Despite the quirkiness of the said coaching staff assignment, Gottschalk is satisfied by it.
“We’re very happy with the setup that we have internally in the coaching,” he said. (PNA)