Jose Luis Real's time in MLS was brief. The longtime Chivas de Guadalajara coach and front office member was brought to California as the replacement for Chelís midway through Chivas USA's dire 2013 season. And while that season was marked by continual drama, mostly off the field, and the team was one of the worst in the league, Real helped steady the ship on-field, and incorporated needed additions Erick Torres and Carlos Bocanegra to the team midseason.
Since leaving Chivas USA at the end of the 2013 season, Real returned to Mexico to coach Chivas de Guadalajara, before being let go the following season from that post. He's also been involved in Chivas' academy intermittently since, but these days he's working on other projects.
One of those other projects happened last week, with local NPSL side SoCal SC. Real visited the club and took part in coaching sessions with the club's coaches and led a training session for academy players.
During his visit, Real also granted The Goat Parade an exclusive interview.
"These days I'm visiting the academy of SoCal. I have good friends here, where they are building an important fútbol project," he said.
SoCal is an expansion team for the NPSL, based in San Bernardino, currently in their first season at that level. They also have a youth program, to run from the youngest ages all the way to the adult team.
Real complemented SoCal's coaches and players as having "high quality," and that the project is new and it's something he's interested in.
As someone who has been quite experienced on both the youth and professional sides of the game, Real, who led Chivas de Guadalajara to the Copa Libertadores final in 2010, noted that he liked working in both levels, but that he "had no patience for children," instead preferring the ages just before they entered the pro ranks.
Of course, we couldn't go without asking "Güero" about his experience with Chivas USA. When asked about his favorite moment, his answer was perhaps a bit surprising.
"The best was that it was international soccer," Real said. "...It was a very difficult, very strong competition. It was a great experience. I loved it. It made me a better coach when I returned to Mexico."
Who did Real enjoy coaching the most on CUSA? He picked an academy product.
"Marky Delgado," he said. "18 years old, he started and did well."
And the best player his team faced while he coached in MLS? "I think [Landon] Donovan. He was still playing that season, and I think he was the best in the United States, and in the league."
Given Real's short sojourn coaching in MLS, and the dissolution of Chivas USA, does he still follow MLS?
"I still watch the games, I like to watch them," he explained. "...I'm still in touch with coaches [around the league].
"I try to watch all the [MLS] games I can."
It seems although his time in MLS was short, Jose Luis Real continues to keep track of the happenings in the United States, and in visits like the one he made to SoCal SC, those links to California continue to this day.
Thanks to Eric Gonzalez of SoCal SC for assistance with the interview.
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