The open secret is no longer a secret, as LAFC and Las Vegas Lights FC announced they have entered an affiliate partnership effective immediately. As part of the partnership, Steve Cherundolo has been appointed head coach of Lights FC.
The USL Championship termed the partnership a “temporary, one-year affiliation partnership,” which may indicate the relationship between the clubs will be evolving over time.
“Establishing an affiliation with a team in the USL is the next step in our evolution as a Club,” LAFC Co-President & General Manager John Thorrington said in an LAFC statement. “We are extremely excited to work with Brett Lashbrook and the Lights on this partnership. The USL Championship is an incredibly competitive and successful league that continues to grow and we are happy to be involved with it.”
“Today is an exciting day for Lights FC. Coach Cherundolo is an amazing addition and LAFC is a world-class organization — we are very lucky to be working with both,” said Lights FC Owner & C.E.O. Brett Lashbrook in a Las Vegas team statement. “To be clear, our expectations for Lights FC have not changed. We have the ability to continue to turn Las Vegas into a true ‘soccer city’ and today’s announcements without a doubt help accelerate our growth plan.”
The releases are not altogether specific on how the details of the partnership will work out in 2021, but it had been previously reported that LAFC would run the sporting operations and Lights FC would run the business operations locally of the USL Championship club. Given that Las Vegas have announced just one signing this offseason, of Blake Frischknecht, it’s unclear if there will be a slew of signings to help fill out the roster in the coming weeks or if LAFC will essentially send all the players who don’t make a matchday squad in MLS to Vegas every week and keep the squad barebones beyond that. My guess is there will be a handful of USL Championship signings and LAFC players will be a heavy contingent in Las Vegas’ roster.
Still, it looks like LAFC players will get regular playing time in the USL Championship, and you know we’ll be keeping you posted on the exploits of Lights FC this season.
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