It’s officially official. After months of rumors, wild speculation, and a few tense weeks from fans, LAFC have their head coach for the new era. Steve Cherundolo was introduced on Wednesday as the new head coach for the black and gold.
Let’s be brutally honest, regardless of who was announced, opinions would fly and the pressure would be on. LA sports are notorious for wanting nothing short of championships — and thanks to their immediate success early on — LAFC are no different. It’s a bit odd to say, but while this team is undoubtedly going through changes, fans still expect this team to win a championship, much sooner than later.
It can be argued that no candidate understands this more than Cherundolo himself. Having spent the last year within the organization, as head of the Las Vegas Lights. While the bulk of his introduction featured a lot of the expected key words new coaches tend to use, it was interesting to hear his thoughts on the state of the black and gold.
LAFC have already seen two star-caliber players — Diego Rossi and Eduard Atuesta — as well as a handful of fairly important role players, and even a young promising talent in Bryce Duke, depart this offseason. Which has left many presuming this would be the start of an LAFC rebuild into era 2.0. This is not the case, at least for Cherundolo.
“I don't think we’re in the middle of a rebuild, first and foremost. There will be changes, as there are in every season, and that is something that is natural, and normal in this industry” said Cherundolo in the press conference when asked about the plan for the rebuild ahead. “There won't be very much change, change on the sideline of course, but I am also a face players have seen over the past year. There won't be a rebuild or a lot of change.”
Despite the departures, the team that remains is an incredibly talented one — albeit thin on depth at the moment — so it’s easy to see why Cherundolo doesn't view this as a complete rebuild of the roster. The issue is, not only having to replace those that have left, but doing so in a way that makes you not just as good as before, but better. In four years this is a club that has only seen one finals appearance across all competitions, so the goal isn't just to improve, but reach championship caliber.
Cherundolo stressed that this would be a team that “wants to score goals, and make the fans proud.” With reports that the team is looking to add 3-4 players, as well as a DP, LAFC Co-President and General Manager John Thorrington hinted that the team was already working on bringing in reinforcements.
“That process already began and is underway. We hinted, I do think there will be some more additions,” said Thorrington.
On the surface, it would seem LAFC are well prepared for the step into the next era of existence. With a head coach that has already spent time within the club, and around the current roster of players, to a front office that is clearly confident they will see several big additions to the squad in the near future. Perhaps this team isn't undergoing as much of a rebuild as we all presumed. Time will tell, and with just over a month left until the 2022 season kicks off, we’ll know sooner, rather than later, just how prepared the black and gold are.
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