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Bennett Rosenthal becomes LAFC’s new lead managing owner

Also, new deals for Thorrington and Freedman.

MLS: Banc of California Stadium Ribbon Cutting
Rosenthal (right) with LAFC co-founder and owner Henry Nguyen
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

LAFC announced several key pieces of news on Tuesday, including new multi-year contracts for team co-presidents John Thorrington (sporting operations) and Larry Freedman (business operations). But the club also announced that Bennett Rosenthal will take over as LAFC’s lead managing owner.

Rosenthal takes over for Larry Berg in a pre-planned transition, according to a club statement. Rosenthal, Berg and Brandon Beck are LAFC’s controlling owners, the people who make the main decisions amid LAFC’s large ownership group overall, which currently runs 29 people deep according to the club’s website.

“Bennett, Brandon and I have always had a plan in place to periodically rotate the Lead Managing Owner position,” Berg said in a club statement. “It was an incredible honor and thrill for me to serve as the Lead Managing Owner for LAFC during such a historic period, and I look forward to continuing to help lead the club as a Co-Managing Owner just as Bennett and Brandon have done during my tenure.”

Berg’s tenure as lead managing owner preceded LAFC’s time on the field, dating back to 2016, and in his time at the helm, LAFC won two Supporters’ Shields, an MLS Cup, reached the Concacaf Champions League final and just as impressively, built the team’s stadium in Los Angeles that opened in 2018 and remains among the best venues in American sports.

But again, Rosenthal is not a newcomer, having joined the managing owner trio in 2016, with Rosenthal being an announced owner of LAFC when they first announced the club’s formation in Oct. 2014.

“I am excited to carry on our mission of uniting the World’s City through the World’s Game, bringing joy and being a force for good in Los Angeles,” Rosenthal said. “We will continue to be a source of pride for our supporters and fans as well as the entire L.A. community.”

Time will tell if this makes any significant difference in terms of LAFC’s approach and day-to-day operations, but given this is a story of near-continuity, with Thorrington and Freedman — both well-respected in their respective roles at the club around the league — it initially seems like it will mainly be business as usual for the black-and-gold.

“Our senior leadership team of John and Larry continues to do an incredible job of leading our Club to unprecedented success both on and off the field,” Rosenthal said. “In just five years, it is incredible to see how LAFC and our stadium have become leaders in the world of sports and entertainment.”

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