My bad for not catching this earlier, but I got behind on my Salvadoran news reading. Former U.S. international and U.S. youth national team coach Hugo Perez told La Prensa Grafica (Spanish) last month that he had an upcoming meeting with MLS expansion side LAFC.
Perez, born in El Salvador but immigrated to the U.S. as a boy, served as the assistant coach of El Salvador's national team this summer, and was in negotiations with the federation to take on a bigger role with development, but in the interview with La Prensa Grafica, Perez seemed to indicate that he would not wait forever, and that an upcoming meeting with LAFC (which may have already taken place) could mean he would be leaving the national team set-up and returning to Southern California.
This is fascinating on a number of levels. Perez was the U-15 boys national team coach from 2012-14 and was well-regarded in that capacity, credited with playing an attractive brand of soccer and expanding the player pool substantially. But he was quickly "reassigned" last year to what seemed like a paper-pushing job while his contract ran out, a move that continues to reverberate in the USYNT, not least because nobody knows why he was demoted.
If LAFC are looking at Perez to help build the club, it could be a real coup if he comes aboard. He's familiar with the local market, he's got youth bonafides if he would be working at the youth level in setting up LAFC's academy, and who knows, maybe he would be an asset on the senior level as well. I was pretty upset to see LAFC reject the Chivas USA academy, and while they still could have incorporated CUSA's academy and hired Perez, if they do hire Perez it should put the academy in good hands.
Of course, Perez doesn't really indicate the manner of the meeting he was going to have with LAFC. Maybe it was or wasn't serious, and he was dropping the hint in the Salvadoran press as leverage with El Salvador's FA in his negotiations with them. Still, he hasn't been announced in a new position for the Central American national team, so there's a chance he could be joining LAFC, which would be very auspicious, indeed.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!