Former U.S. interim coach Dave Sarachan has been hired as coach of Puerto Rico’s soccer team.

The 66-year-old Sarachan will lead Puerto Rico in qualifying for the 2022 World Cup, the Puerto Rican Football Federation said Wednesday.

Puerto Rico, which competes separately from the United States, is in Group F of the pandemic-delayed first round of the North and Central American and Caribbean region. It opens March 24 at St. Kitts and Nevis, then hosts Trinidad and Tobago four days later.

The group also includes Bahamas and Guyana, and the group winner opens the final round at home against the U.S. in September.

Sarachan was Bruce Arena’s top assistant with the U.S. team from 1999-2002 and again in 2017. He took over as interim coach when Arena quit following the October 2017 loss at Trinidad that prevented the Americans from qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.

Sarachan was interim head coach through 2018 and led the U.S. to three wins, five losses and four ties in 12 exhibitions. He transitioned to a younger roster, giving debuts to 22 players, a group that included Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams, Josh Sargent, Antonee Robinson, Tim Weah, Reggie Cannon and Aaron Long.


Sarachan was coach of the Chicago Fire from 2003-07 and was Arena’s assistant at the LA Galaxy from 2008-16.

“The playoffs for a World Cup are incredibly special to me,” Sarachan said in a statement. “So, with Puerto Rico, the challenge right now is to move this group in a positive direction and that excites me.”


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