KENYA BROWN - Monday, June 22, 2020
Pellegrino Matarazzo has put VfB Stuttgart in prime position for promotion to the German Bundesliga after their most recent win.
The 2019-2020 season has been a special one for American coaches in Europe. Jesse Marsch, of course, has been grabbing many of the headlines with his success so far at Red Bull Salzburg in the Austrian Bundesliga. But in Germany, Matarazzo has started to turn heads as he has virtually locked up automatic promotion for his team.
Following their 6-0 annihilation of Nurnberg, along with some help from fellow promotion chasers Heidenheim as they beat Hamburg, this has given Stuttgart a strong advantage when the 2. Bundesliga wraps up its season the coming weekend. And if all things go well, Matarazzo will make history as the first American-born coach to walk the touchline in the Bundesliga.
The story of the 42-year-old is one that most American soccer players can relate to in some ways. Heading over to Germany to pursue a professional soccer career, he would spend all of his time playing in the country's lower leagues. After a 10-year playing career, he made the switch to coaching, moving through the ranks at Nurnberg before taking the assistant coach post at Hoffenheim.
There was speculation as to whether the New Jersey-born coach was the right man for the job when Stuttgart announced his appointment as their new head coach in December 2019. But he has gone on to prove the doubters wrong as the team is on the verge of making their return to the German top flight.
Barring any major hiccups, Matarazzo and Stuttgart should confirm their promotion to the Bundesliga on June 28 when they welcome Darmstadt to the Mercedes Benz Arena.