Marc Dos Santos
Steve Kingsman/Ottawa Fury

Quotes: Marc Dos Santos unveiled as Swope Park Rangers head coach

The Swope Park Rangers on Friday unveiled head coach Marc Dos Santos and announced Christian Duke as the first player signing for the team's inaugural USL season in 2016. Press conference remarks from Dos Santos, Duke, Peter Vermes and Mike Jacobs are provided below.


Swope Park Rangers head coach Marc Dos Santos

On becoming as the first Swope Park Rangers head coach…

This was probably one of the easiest decisions I’ve had to make in my career. As soon as I met Peter [Vermes] and Kerry [Zavagnin], and as soon as I met the staff, the club, everything around Sporting Kansas City — their vision, their style of play, the methodology and ideas we shared — it was clear for me this was the place I had to be. It was a very easy process, and thank God I was in a position at the end of the season that I could have chosen to be in other places. It was very, very easy to choose to be here, so I’m very happy to work with Peter and Kerry and with the club. I can promise that I’m going to give my very best every day.

On moving from the NASL (2nd division) to the USL (3rd division)…

A lot of people asked me if it was a step back. I see it as a huge step forward because of the club that it is. The opportunity to learn with Peter, Kerry, the staff, the club—I don’t look at it as USL, NASL or MLS. I just look at it as being the right club and the right time.

On his longtime relationship with Sporting KC assistant coach Kerry Zavagnin…

I met Kerry when I did my UEFA coaching license in Ireland. That was in 2010. Since then we’ve developed a friendship. Even when I was in Brazil, Kerry used to call me a lot to get information on players. It was a friendship that was built sharing ideas, sharing a vision, and from there everything came about. That’s how things were built.

On his preferred style of play…

I like to have a team that’s very aggressive. When we don’t have the ball, we want to have the ball as soon as we can. I think it’s the best way to defend in soccer when you have possession. In the last three years, Sporting Kansas City was one of the best when it comes to that area. With the ball, we want to be a possession-oriented team, but when I say that, we still want to recognize good moments to counter and not just have possession. A team of players, when it loses possession, should have a strong attitude and reaction. After all of the tactical things, it’s the character and the right people. You can have all the stars, but we want good characters and good people who want to be here and help the team.

Swope Park Rangers defender/midfielder Christian Duke

On becoming the first Swope Park Rangers player…

Today is an exciting day for myself and for the organization and the city. I was here two years before [in 2013-14], and to come home again and play in front of my family and friends is going to be awesome. I’m excited for the opportunity. I have experience and know what it takes from the first team level and what the coaching staff and the organization expects from the players. I’m really excited to get going and very excited for this day.

On what the Rangers offer players trying to move from the Academy to the first team…

It’s huge. You’ve got young guys coming through the Academy system and there is a gap. As a young player, you need more meaningful minutes and training with the first team every day. Having that opportunity to look over and be like, “That could be you one day” is a good stepping-stone for young guys to take a step up.

On playing for a professional team in his hometown again…

As a kid growing up here and going to games, you always want to aspire to be on that field one day. For myself, I worked really hard to get to professional soccer. This is a great opportunity to achieve goals that I set for myself. For guys coming through the academy system, they’re going to have a great opportunity with this side.

Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes

On the signing of Marc Dos Santos as Rangers head coach…

From my point of view, this is a day that I’ve been waiting for a long time. What it does is it brings the final piece into our development model. The USL team is something that has been sorely missed. We’ve had our Academy since its inception in 2007, and obviously the MLS team has been here since 1996. As much as our Academy staff has done an excellent job of trying to develop those players as best they can and to make them ready for the professional level, there’s always been this huge, huge gap between the Academy and the senior team.

Now we sit here on the precipice of announcing our head coach. What you will find is a couple of things: he’s a person who fits extremely well into our methodology and our philosophy as a coaching staff within our club. There’s no doubt that his experiences in Portugal and Brazil and the NASL will pay dividends for us in the future. What I love is that there is a uniqueness where his success is based on the same type of successes that we try to achieve here. That is, you realize the game is centered around building a style of play, developing players and making sure that their rules and responsibilities fit that style of play. And then ultimately that entertaining style will get you the results you’re looking for.

We’re very fortunate to be able to sign (Dos Santos). He’s a great coach who I think will be here a long time within our system, and I love the fact that we have this final piece to Sporting Kansas City, because I believe it’s the one piece of our model that we were missing a long time. We have an excellent coach who will get the players ready for the ultimate level, which is the senior team.

On his communication with Dos Santos leading up to the signing…

The fact of the matter is we met last November, so a year ago. We’ve been in constant contact since that time period. This is something that we’ve talked about for a long time. We tried to do everything we could to let Marc stay focused on what he was doing [with NASL club Ottawa Fury] — both between him and us. We understood that he had an obligation there that he had to fulfill. Obviously he did it very well, leading his team to the [Championship Final] and being named [NASL] Coach of the Year. The communication has been tremendous, but more importantly our philosophies and methodologies are aligned. And that’s the most important aspect.

Sporting KC Assistant Technical Director Mike Jacobs

On the signing of Marc Dos Santos as Rangers head coach…

Today is a great day for our franchise. We spend so much time talking about our player development model and our schemes for growing players. The idea of having our USL team with the Swope Park Rangers creates a bridge for our pipeline from the Academy to the first team. It’s been a vision of Peter Vermes to grow players within our own market, and the idea of developing players within our club to the first team is very exciting. The opportunity to announce our coach and our first signing today is a tremendous occasion for the club.

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