Los Angeles Football Club announced the expansion team’s coaching staff on Friday, ending weeks of speculation and rampant rumors that had seemed to balloon the number of touted assistants to nearly double digits.
In the end, five men will join Bob Bradley’s staff. Mike Sorber will be director of soccer operations, presumably acting as a link between John Thorrington and Bradley, and likely spearheading scouting opponents for the club. Sorber joins from the Philadelphia Union, where he was an assistant coach for Jim Curtin. He’s also served as an assistant with the U.S. Men’s National Team, including a stint for Bradley, and with the Montreal Impact and his college, Saint Louis University. As a player, Sorber was a U.S. international, played in the Mexican Primera for Pumas UNAM, and then in MLS for Kansas City, the MetroStars and the Chicago Fire (where he played under Bradley).
The three regular assistants will be Ante Razov, Marc Dos Santos and Kenny Arena. Razov has spent the last three years as an assistant for the LA Galaxy and Seattle Sounders. As a player, the LA native spent most of his career in MLS, playing for several clubs. The prolific forward is considered a legend by Chicago Fire and Chivas USA fans, and he’s currently the fifth highest scoring player all-time in MLS history.
Dos Santos is the coach getting the most attention with this news, and is a relative newcomer amidst a group of men with longstanding connections to Bradley. Considered one of the most promising coaching talents in North America, Dos Santos is a Canadian of Brazilian heritage, having coached for the likes of Montreal Impact (pre-MLS era) and Ottawa Fury in his homeland, for Brazilian youth teams, and for Swope Park Rangers and as an assistant for that team’s parent club, Sporting Kansas City. Most recently, he took the expansion San Francisco Deltas to the NASL league title in 2017, and was believed to be lining up a job with Miami FC. But that team’s current uncertainty appears to have given LAFC an opening to pick up Dos Santos, and his addition could be a coup for the team.
Arena, the son of Bruce Arena, had been serving as an assistant under his father for the USMNT and LA Galaxy the last four years. Before that, he was an assistant and head coach at several colleges. Having played collegiately himself at Virginia, Arena played three seasons in MLS for MetroStars and D.C. United before beginning his coaching career.
Abdel is a name familiar to those who have followed Bradley’s career. Most recently goalkeeper coach of the Canadian National Team last year, he has worked with Bradley at the Egyptian National Team, the U.S. National Team and Chivas USA, and he’s also worked in the past for the Galaxy. Abdel is originally from Egypt and played professionally there, but he began his coaching career here in Southern California, serving as head coach for the L.A. Salsa (1994), Cal State Fullerton (1996-1997), Orange County Zodiac and Orange County Blue Stars (1997).
The announcement should cut off the speculation tying a growing number of Bradley’s former players and proteges to LAFC staff positions. The good news is that all five men have considerable experience, but they are also pretty young, and have worked extensively with and apart from Bradley in the past.
LAFC will open training camp on Jan. 22. We’ll see these guys in action soon enough.
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