US SoccerUS Soccer

Head Coach

Tab RamosTab Ramos

Hometown: Colts Neck, New Jersey

Ramos was named head coach of the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team in October of 2011. Ramos led the U.S. U-20s to a runner-up finish in the 2013 CONCACAF U-20 Championship in Mexico and a berth to the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey. Though the USA fell short of advancing out of a difficult group at the World Cup, the U-20 MNT did draw eventual tournament winner France 1-1.

On Nov. 12, 2013, Ramos was appointed as U.S. Soccer’s Youth Technical Director to oversee the long-term strategies for development of both coaches and players at the youth level in the United States. Ramos also joined U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s staff as an assistant coach in 2014.

Ramos brings a wealth of experience to the U.S. National Team program. He has been a member of the U.S. Soccer Federation Technical Board since 2006, and after receiving his “A” coaching license in 2007, became the U.S. U-20 MNT assistant coach two years later. Ramos served as interim head coach in late 2011, guiding the U-20 Men through training camp and two friendlies in France.

His first coaching experience came with the New Jersey Soccer Academy (now known as NJCSA), a U.S. Soccer Development Academy club, which he founded in 2004. He is currently the President and Executive Director of the program and has won four New Jersey state championships and a national championship, the only U.S. Youth Soccer National Championship for a N.J. boys’ club in more than two decades.

Ramos first earned international playing experience with the U-20 Men when he scored two goals for the U.S. in FIFA U-20 World Cup qualifying. He played for the U.S. in the 1983 FIFA World Youth Championship and was also a member of the U.S. team that competed in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea.

His first appearance with the U.S. Men’s National Team came on Jan. 10, 1988, against Guatemala. Ramos went on to play in the 1990 FIFA World Cup, where his performance earned him the title of U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year. By the time he retired from international duty in 2000, Ramos had played in three World Cups, earned 81 caps, tallied 14 assists and scored eight goals, becoming the only U.S. player to score at least one World Cup qualifying goal in three different decades. He was named to the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2005.

A 2001 graduate of North Carolina State University, Ramos studied foreign language and literature while becoming a three-time All-American in his four years playing for the school’s men’s soccer team. He joined American Soccer League side New Jersey Eagles in 1998 before moving to fellow ASL club Miami Sharks the next season.

In 1990, Ramos had a contract to play exclusively for the U.S. MNT as it prepared for the 1990 FIFA World Cup, but Spanish Second Division club Figueres took him on loan later that year, before eventually signing him. Ramos was sold to Real Betis in 1992 and helped the team win promotion to La Liga, but a skull fracture suffered in the 1994 FIFA World Cup kept him from making any La Liga appearances.

Ramos was the first player signed to Major League Soccer in 1995, and before being allocated to the New York/New Jersey MetroStars, MLS loaned him to Tigres UANL in Mexico, where his team was the 1996 Mexico Cup champion. In his seven seasons with the MetroStars, Ramos tallied eight goals and 36 assists before retiring in 2002.

Assistant Coaches

Brian BlissBrian Bliss - Assistant Coach

Hometown:
Rochester, New York

Coaching career: Bliss joined U.S. U-20 MNT head coach Tab Ramos’ staff in January of 2012. He was named the Columbus Crew’s first technical director in 2008, and in December of 2013 he became the Chicago Fire’s second technical director for head coach Frank Yallop. Bliss’s coaching career began in 1999 as head coach of the A-League’s Connecticut Wolves. He then served as an assistant coach for the Kansas City Wizards from 2000-06, serving as an interim head coach from July to December of 2006. During his tenure at Kansas City, the Wizards were Supporters’ Shield winners in 2000 and U.S. Open Cup champions in 2004.

Playing career: Bliss is a former defender who earned 33 caps and scored two goals with the U.S. Men’s National Team from 1984-1995 and was a member of the 1990 FIFA World Cup team. He also represented the U.S. at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, Korea.

Omid NamaziOmid Namazi - Assistant Coach

Hometown: 
Sewell, New Jersey

Coaching career: Namazi joined U.S. Soccer in March of 2014 as an assistant coach for the U.S. Women’s National Team. Later in the year, Namazi became a regular part of U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team camps alongside head coach Tab Ramos. He came to U.S. Soccer following an assistant coaching role for Iran’s men’s national team, serving in that capacity from 2011-14 and helping the team qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup by winning Group A in the Asian Qualifying Tournament ahead of the Korea Republic. Namazi has had an extensive coaching career in both men’s and women’s soccer. He was the head coach of the San Diego Spirit of the Women’s United Soccer Association (WUSA) in 2003, leading the team to its first and only playoff berth, as well as the Chicago Red Stars in Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS), taking over the team mid-season in early June of 2010 after the former head coach was let go. Namazi’s first coaching experience began during his 18-year professional playing career that spanned from 1988-2005. In March of 1999, Namazi served as an interim coach while playing for the Major Indoor Soccer League’s Philadelphia KiXX.

Playing career: Namazi represented the U.S. Futsal National Team from 2002-03, earning five caps and scoring two goals. Professionally, Namazi played extensively in the Major Indoor Soccer League, earning MISL Defender of the Year for the Philadelphia KiXX in 2001 and then winning the MISL Championship with the KiXX in 2002. During his long playing career, Namazi appeared for 14 different clubs – both outdoor and indoor – and spent a brief time with the New York/New Jersey MetroStars in Major League Soccer in the league’s inaugural season, playing in one match in 1996. From 1984-87, Namazi played for West Virginia, where he was a two-time All-South selection. Namazi transitioned to a professional career one year later with the Washington Diplomats of the American Soccer League.

Russell PayneRussell Payne - Goalkeeper Coach

Hometown: Columbia, Maryland

Coaching career: Payne was part of the U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team coaching staff during the 2013 CONCACAF U-20 Championship and the USA’s trip to the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey. Collegiately, Payne is coming off his fifth season as the head coach of Army’s men’s soccer program. The Black Knights are 32-43-15 during his five-year tenure, with the most successful season being a 12-3-3 run in 2013. Army had not posted 12 victories in one campaign since the 1993 season. Before West Point, Payne was an assistant coach for five years at his alma mater Maryland, where he played a role in the team’s 2005 and 2008 national championships. Payne serves as a scout for the U.S. U-17 through U-23 National Team programs and has coaching ties to the Development Academy as head coach of Potomac’s U-18 team, D.C. United Academy’s goalkeeping coach and most recently Potomac’s director of goalkeeping.

Playing career: Payne was drafted by the New York/New Jersey MetroStars in 2001, and after a preseason release he shined at Derry City in the Irish Premier League and was named Ireland Goalkeeper of the Year during his second season in 2001-02. Collegiately, Payne starred at Maryland for four seasons (1993-96) and made three trips to the NCAA Tournament. He led the Terrapins to their first ACC Tournament title as a senior and totaled 340 saves during his career. Payne’s 10-save performance against Duke on Sept. 29, 1996, still stands as a program single-game record.

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