The LA Galaxy are embarking on a new era in their history, as they kick off the search for a new head coach.
The Galaxy missed the MLS Cup Playoffs for the third time in four years in 2020, and Guillermo Barros Schelotto didn’t even last the entire season before being fired. Now what?
According to Galaxy general manager Dennis te Kloese, there appear to be many interested candidates.
“First of all, we received obviously a lot of calls and people that are interested. I think we take a step back and evaluate what is a coach that fits to our current, first of all, needs, and second of all, of a culture that we’re trying to create,” Te Kloese told reporters in English Wednesday during the club’s end-of-season availability.
Dominic Kinnear was appointed interim head coach the final three games of the season, the second time in three seasons he took over the reins on an interim basis.
While Kinnear, the head coach in MLS history with the third-most wins and a two-time MLS Cup winner, was passed over as head coach last time in favor of Schelotto, and still stayed on as assistant, Te Kloese was asked if the former U.S. international was in consideration this time around.
“First of all, openly I would like to thank Dominic for the willingness to take the team in the last stretch in the season,” Te Kloese said. “Knowing Dominic as educated and as loyal and as a good human being, it was a challenge for him obviously being on Guillermo’s staff and then taking over. He’s very much liked by the players, he has a great resumé within the league and it wouldn’t be fair for me to say that he’s obviously not taken into account. Obviously he’s taken into account. He’s one of the most winningest coaches in the league. But we have to take that in a calm way when we can sit down and also hear his part of the story. But first of all I’m very grateful for him taking the lead in the last few games that more so the first two were very positive.”
While foreign coaches have made inroads in recent years in MLS, ultimate success in terms of winning titles remains elusive for non-Americans. Te Kloese said any foreign candidates would need to really understand MLS. To be fair, it was believed Schelotto had that grounding when he was hired by the Galaxy, after his successful run as a player with the Columbus Crew.
“I do think with your question about foreign coaches, I think he has to admit that knowledge of the league and a tie into the league is something which is very valuable. You see it in the yearly standings, you see it in the coaches that have success in this league. And obviously something to keep on the table as we go forward,” he said.
When asked about timing, the GM said they would seek to have the head coach in place by the end of the year, but they also want to be thorough in their search. The Galaxy will need to have their roster decisions with the current squad submitted to MLS by Nov. 30, ahead of the MLS Expansion Draft for Austin FC on Dec. 15.
But Te Kloese seemed to emphasize the next coach needs to be committed to properly integrating big names with local products.
“I think, if you go to a first team, there’s always been high success with high profile players. I’ve seen that in the last two years, we’ve also shown that Southern California is a place where talent can be scouted, can be nurtured, can be developed so I think that’s part of the process that were going forward, not in an extreme way but I do think it gives a great identity to some of the games to see players that are local, just such as Efrain Alvarez or Julian Araujo, or Ethan Zubak on the field.
“And part of our coaching search is somebody that is willing and is capable and is proven to work with [youth]. On the other hand, it is a great responsibility and a good project. I think that in our evaluation process we need to be looking at coaches that are hungry, that have eagerness to make something out of this. I know that Los Angeles and the Galaxy is something glamorous, but people that work here, and players and staff and everybody involved need to work for the right reasons. This is something that needs to show much more ambitions than we’ve shown in the last year, needs to have, obviously the qualities of a coach who can lead this process in the right way and can build upon,” he said.
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