SANTIAGO – While Argentina is mourning over its devastating loss at the World Championship, coach Jorge Sampaoli gets the blame for the disastrous failure. The name Sampaoli though, will in Chile always be received with joy. His history with the Chilean national team and Universidad de Chile after all, is quite impressive.
Jorge Sampaoli led the Universidad de Chile soccer club during a long journey of accomplishment since he became coach in 2010. The Argentinean won four titles in a row with U de Chile and led it to victory in the Copa América in 2015, the first time in history a Chilean club won the Cup. Sampaoli also takes fourth place in the ranking of games led – 44 matches between 2012 and 2016.
The first professional title Sampaoli obtained as coach was the Torneo de Apertura in 2011. Back then, U de Chile defeated Universidad Católica 4:1, which the club still remembers as historical moment as, according to the club’s website, it kicked off the team’s successful journey. “The 4:1 victory was the prize for a team that never considered to give up and was the beginning of a process that would continue with the obtaining of a triple championship and a South America Cup,” said the club.
In December 2011, Sampaoli led the team to win its first international competition, the Copa Libertadores, which went to a Chilean club for the first time. That year, U de Chile triumphed over Liga de Quito, the winner in 2009 and 2010, making Jorge Sampaoli the only Chilean champion coach in a South American Cup who didn’t have a professional career as a football player, as at the age of 19, he suffered a tibia and fibula injury. But as coach, Sampaoli developed a chain of triumphs.
In December 2015, U de Chile won the Copa Chile with Sampaoli at the helm by defeating Colo Colo. The match was decided in a penalty round, in which a goal by Johnny Herrera defined U de Chile as champion. Furthermore, Jorge Sampaoli led the national team to the crown of Copa América. It was the first time Chile won the title. The final match was against Argentina, and again was decided in a penalty round. “Chile not only won the Cup, but also won all the matches. I didn’t see any game that suggested that Chile didn’t overcome all its contenders,” said Sampaoli after winning the Copa América.
Editor-In-Chief Boris van der Spek is the founder of Chile Today. He worked in Colombia, Surinam and the Netherlands as reporter and works with international media during major events, like the social crisis, the elections and the Pope’s visit.