Etcheverry started studying for various coaching badges in 1998 and qualified two years later. “It’s nice to still be involved in football. I suffered a lot when I retired. Now I have returned and I love travelling, teaching … I started out at the age of 8 at the Tahuichi Academy, training every day. Football is my life,” confesses Etcheverry.
He feels fulfilled by his new role with the USA U-20s: “We travel to Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil to see how they coach youth teams there because those countries produce a lot of highly talented young players using a process and working methods that we want to learn. I was happy working as an ambassador for DC United until Rongen, who was my technical director at Washington from 1999 to 2001, offered me the chance to continue learning as a coach and go with him to Buenos Aires on a tour.”
Etcheverry played in the MLS for seven seasons and won the MLS Cup three times with DC United, in 1996, 1997 and 1999. In 1998 he was named MLS Most Valuable Player and he also played in the MLS All-Star Game in four consecutive seasons (1996-99). Etcheverry is the player with the second-highest number of appearances (191) and minutes on the pitch (16,305) in US soccer history. Furthermore, his 34 goals in the black shirt of the team from the US capital make him the club’s second highest goalscorer. He also won league titles in Bolivia, Chile and Ecuador.
After a lengthy footballing career, El Diablo certainly deserves a rest. A few months ago, the Etcheverry family moved into a new house in West Virginia in order to enjoy some peace and quiet. “I live in the suburbs of Washington DC, an hour and a quarter from the centre. I am relaxed in the countryside with five or six neighbours who don’t know who 1 am,” he says, smiling. He knows that it would be impossible for him to go unnoticed in Bolivia.
In any case, he has a refuge when he returns to his home country, a farm north of Santa Cruz. “It’s a cattle ranch: my brothers and brothers-in-law look after the animals; I don’t have time for any more activities,” he says by way of an excuse. He did manage to fit one extra activity in, however: “During the 2006 World Cup in Germany I worked as a commentator for a TV station in Ecuador. It was nice, but I prefer working on the pitch,” he explains. In 1997, during the MLS off-season, he played 13 matches for Barcelona SC and won the Ecuadorian league championship.