After more than a month of waiting, LAFC have appointed their second head coach in history, announcing on Monday the hiring of Steve Cherundolo, in his first-ever top flight manager role.
“I am extremely excited to introduce Steve as our next head coach,” LAFC Co-President & General Manager John Thorrington said in a team statement. “We know what works for LAFC and also what works in MLS, and Steve has a unique blend of international and domestic experience at the highest levels that matches those needs. We have seen this past year how great a fit he is with the LAFC culture, how well he knows our players and our philosophy, and that he is the ideal choice to lead us to on-field success.”
Cherundolo, 42, moves up in the LAFC organization after serving as the club’s reserve team head coach in 2021, of the Las Vegas Lights FC in the USL Championship. With that team clearly serving primarily as a space to give LAFC players and assorted youngsters time to play and develop, the team’s record in league play was poor, 6-23-3, as they were never in the playoff hunt in an otherwise highly competitive Pacific Division.
Prior to moving back stateside to manage Las Vegas, Cherundolo was an assistant and youth coach at Hannover 96, Stuttgart, the U.S. Men’s National Team and the Germany U-15 National Team. Raised in San Diego County, Cherundolo spent his entire professional career at Hannover, from 1999-2014, and was the starting right back for the USMNT for most of that time.
“I am ecstatic to be named the head coach of LAFC,” Cherundolo said. “Having been a part of the club for the past year, I was able to see firsthand that the fans, city, and organization are all extraordinary. Furthering the club’s endeavors on and off the field are my main focus and I can’t wait to get started.”
At one point in the past month, LAFC GM John Thorrington was rumored to be approaching at least one manager working in South America but if that was the case it did not turn out to be the direction the club went into. While LAFC seemed to need a new direction with diminishing returns under Bob Bradley, will Cherundolo — who has never managed a professional top flight side — be the man to rejuvenate a team that expects to contend for titles? Here’s hoping he is the man for the job.
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