LAFC names Steve Cherundolo as new coach – Daily News


The Los Angeles Football Club on Monday announced Steve Cherundolo as the club’s next head coach.

Cherundolo, 42, will officially be introduced at a press conference on Wednesday at Banc of California Stadium.

Inducted into the U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame in 2021, Cherundolo ranks among the most decorated American players of all time. He made 87 appearances for the U.S. national team and is one of 11 players to be named to three U.S. World Cup rosters.

The San Diego native spent 15 years in Germany as a professional player. Upon retiring from Hannover 96 in 2014, where he served as captain and was dubbed “The Mayor,” the right back had recorded 415 appearances, most by an American with one Bundesliga club.

Cherundolo immediately transitioned into coaching with Hannover. His head coaching experience, however, is limited to a 2021 stint as the manager of LAFC’s United Soccer League affiliate Las Vegas Lights and opportunities on the youth academy level in Germany.

Last year with Las Vegas, Cherundolo’s team posted a 6-23-3 record in the USL Pacific Division as it served primarily as LAFC’s reserve team with a heavy focus on player development. He had previously been named to the interim staff of the U.S. national team in 2018 and two years later earned a UEFA Pro License, the highest coaching certification available in Europe.

“Maybe it’s just my general character,” Cherundolo said, “but I don’t like to get into things where I am not prepared. I feel very prepared for this opportunity and I’m ready to go.”

Cherundolo takes over a club that missed the MLS Cup playoffs for the first time in 2021.

LAFC co-president and general manager Thorrington described the hire as more evolution than revolution.

Few people know Cherundolo better than Thorrington. The two became friends as teammates on the under-20 U.S. national team. As the only American players based in Europe at the time, they roomed together through the Olympic qualifying tournament in 2000, which both missed due to injury.

“I think everybody should be excited and I would challenge anybody who knows Steve to find someone who doesn’t think he’s ready and capable to deliver this team the success it deserves,” Thorrington said. “For me, what we have seen works at LAFC and what works in this league is a blend of international experience, expertise and know-how, and an understanding of the domestic player. Steve was unique in that.“

Thorrington described Cherundolo as a clear, direct and decisive communicator as well as “a fantastic learner” capable of applying his experience at the highest level.

“Having known Steve since we were teenagers, everything he has done has prepared him for this opportunity,” Thorrington said. “For those reasons, we’re confident he has the right background and expertise to deliver this team and this club the success it deserves. Our job is just to make sure he gets the support and the players that he needs to be successful and that is absolutely our intent.”

Cherundolo credited his philosophy to a “potpourri of many coaches” he played under and worked with while preparing for a step up that comes as he replaces Bob Bradley, the second-winningest coach in Major League Soccer.

“They are very different people but they are both genuine people,” Thorrington said when asked to compare them. “Leadership is about being genuine. Anybody that gets to know Steve quickly sees Steve has a quiet confidence that is rare. That is really a great quality in his sideline demeanor and ability to connect with players and lead a staff.

“I know it’s a group of players who will love playing for Steve. The outcome of a group of players who love playing for a coach is they will give absolutely everything for the club which is what we expect.”

While Cherundolo assumes control of the next chapter of LAFC’s story, he is disinterested in comparisons to Bradley, who quickly moved on as head coach of Toronto FC, or anyone else.


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