After four cycles with the United States Under-20 National Team, Tab Ramos is embarking on a new challenge and his first stint with a senior side.
“The Dynamo has winning in its DNA,” Ramos told HoustonDynamo.com. “This is a club with a clear vision for the future centered around development and a team-first mentality, and Houston is a city that has tremendous untapped potential as a soccer market, both on and off the field.”
Ramos is tasked with reloading a Dynamo side that faced various challenges in 2019 and lost momentum in the middle of the season after winning six of its first eight matches. This opportunity comes 15 years after Ramos retired and began his coaching career with a U-9 team in his native New Jersey.
Five years later the former U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder joined Thomas Rongen’s U-20 staff that just missed qualifying for the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup. Rongen lost his post after the campaign and would eventually recommend Ramos for the opening. Since then, Ramos would mold players like Zack Steffen, Paul Arriola and Josh Sargent who have set a new bar for the next generation of American footballers.
The U.S. would go on to win back-to-back U-20 Concacaf Championships under Ramos, a first for a program that sat in the shadows of arch-rival Mexico as the runner up in six campaigns.
Players have lauded and attributed Ramos no-nonsense approach for the program’s success, which is driven by his competitive nature.
“He is very demanding, but he never asks for something you can’t do,” Matt Miazga told Yahoo!Sports in May. “I really appreciated it, because it helped prepare me for what’s expected in Europe.
“He’s straight with you,” Miazga continued. “Maybe it’s because he’s from Jersey, but there’s no bullsxxx with Tab.”
The program evolution and eventual success came from Ramos’ high-pressing tactics that fileted down the U.S. youth pyramid during his tenure as the technical director.
“When I first arrived as the head coach of the U-20 program we missed qualifying for the World Cup, now we go into the Concacaf tournament not only expecting to qualify, but to show that we are the best team and win the tournament,” Ramos told Telemundo Deportes in Feb. “We are a team that looks to attack, we play in the 4-3-3 and apply pressure. We want to play.”
His approach was molded by his time in the U.S. national team and his professional experience throughout his 13-year playing career. The 53-year-old is no stranger to Major League Soccer after he spent seven seasons with the MetroStars in the Garden State.
Ramos returns to a league that has expanded and developed new player acquisition mechanisms. His next task will be to work with Dynamo Senior Vice President and General Manager Matt Jordan to build a roster that can compete for a spot in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs.