What's life like for Philadelphia Union interim manager Jim Curtin as the man in charge?

New role, new responsibilities for tenured Union coach Jim Curtin

Jim Curtin vs. Cosmos

Photo Credit: 
Greg Carroccio

Jim Curtin understands the challenge.

And he's embracing every part of it.

That doesn’t mean it’s not difficult. Being elevated from an assistant coach to interim team manager of the Philadelphia Union has been a life-changing event for Curtin.

The hours are longer. The responsibility is deeper. The intensity is raised on a daily basis.

Curtin has guided the Union to two victories in the U.S. Open – are the Harrisburg City Islanders and the New York Cosmos – along with a 3-1 league win at New England. Next up is another road match Friday night at FC Dallas.

Curtin is preparing for this difficult match and the U.S. Open quarterfinals Tuesday against the Revolution.

In the meantime, the Union are screening potential candidates to be hired full-time.

Curtin is auditioning with each match.

It’s not an easy situation, but Curtin is handling the whole thing with the poise and grace.

How has this changed Curtin’s life?

“It’s a lot of responsibility,” Curtin said. “I’m learning a lot in a short amount of time, it’s kind of an accelerated learning, a little bit like one year of college in four years. You have to learn quick, you have to adapt to things fast. It’s difficult. I’m not going to sit up here and say it’s easy, it’s not an easy job, but it’s one that I’ve embraced and really like, and I don’t want to lose.

“The way you do that is you keep winning. That’s the only thing I can kind of control. And, again, the process of the interviewing of other coaches, I know that’s going on. I’ve accepted that, and I have a good relationship, open trust with [CEO & Operating Partner] Nick [Sakiewicz], and he keeps me filled in on the guys that are coming in.

“Listen, I said it to you guys before, a lot of them are my friends, they’re guys that I talk with all the time, and they’re great candidates as well. I’m going to do my best to keep winning, that’s kind of the one thing that I can kind of control right now, is do my talking by what they do on the field."

Curtin played more than 200 games for the Chicago Fire and was named an MLS All-Star and the Fire’s Defender of the Year in 2004. He helped lead the club to two U.S. Open Cup titles in 2003 and ’06 along with the MLS Supporters Shield in ’03. Curtin played his last two seasons in MLS with Chivas USA before retiring in ’09.

Thus far, he has made the transition to interim team manager look smooth. He knows it’s not easy and never will be.

“The locker room is good, guys are happy,” Curtin said. “There’s an energy at practice that competing, but competing the right way, pushing each other. Like I said, that competition — a little bit of fear — is a great motivator.”

What are your thoughts of interim manager Jim Curtin thus far? Leave a comment below. 

Contact Union writer Andy Jasner at andy.jasner@yahoo.com