AZ Alkmaar fires manager Gertjan Verbeek
AZ Alkmaar is on the hunt for a new manager. The Dutch club, formerly home to U.S. national team striker Jozy Altidore and current home to fellow American Aron Johnasson, has fired boss Gertjan Verbeek in the middle of an otherwise totally respectable season.
In a statement on the club's website, AZ stated that the move was made due to a lack of chemistry between the coach and his players, before stating that "management and the board of directors see no basis for futher cooperation."
The move comes a day after AZ defeated PSV 2-1in the Dutch Eredivisie, and four days before the team meets Greek side PAOK Saloniki in a Europa League group stage match. AZ currently sits eighth in the Eredivisie with 13 points from eight matches.
Verbeek arrived at AZ in 2010, and since then the club has finished 4th, 4th, and 10th in the Eredivisie while being a consistent fixture in the UEFA Europa League. AZ Director of Football Earnie Stewart, himself a former U.S. international, indicated in statements to AZ's web site that the rift between coach and players had been brewing for a while, so the move may not have been as out of the blue as it seems. As for Johannsson, he'll be hoping the club's new manager won't be changing much on the field. The Iceland-born American striker has five goals in eight appearances with AZ, including this hat trick in the Dutch Cup earlier this week.