The LA Galaxy began their post-Bruce Arena era on Monday, announcing former player Pete Vagenas would become the club's new general manager, while the
The LA Galaxy began their post-Bruce Arena era on Monday, announcing former player Pete Vagenas would become the club’s new general manager, while the search for a new head coach begins in earnest. Arena, who had been with the Galaxy since 2008 and had won three MLS Cups with the club, returned to the head coaching position with the U.S. Men’s National Team after the firing of Jurgen Klinsmann.
Vagenas, 38, played in MLS 13 years, most of that (from 2000-08) with the Galaxy. The local product grew up in Pasadena and played collegiately at UCLA, and since retiring as a player after the 2012 season has been a member of the Galaxy front office, quickly moving up the ranks from the academy system to vice president of soccer operations, a position he will continue to hold.
“Being from Los Angeles and having invested much of my career into the growth of the LA Galaxy, I am extremely proud to continue with this great club as General Manager and Vice President of Soccer Operations,” said Vagenas in a team statement. “I feel that my experiences within this organization will allow me to succeed in this role as the LA Galaxy continue to grow as a premier soccer club in North America. I look forward to working with both our front office and coaching staff as we push to win championships while further aligning all of our operations within the LA Galaxy, LA Galaxy II and the LA Galaxy Academy.”
Vagenas’ appointment will obviously be crucial in building LA’s roster, for 2017 and beyond. The Galaxy currently have two Designated Player slots open and will look to rebound after getting knocked out in the second round of the playoffs this year. There’s certainly talent on the roster, but there’s also work to be done.
Following the announcement, LA Galaxy president Chris Klein held a conference call with reporters on Monday, where attention turned to the coaching search.
Klein acknowledged LA Galaxy II head coach Curt Onalfo is a candidate for the position, and while he demurred when former Galaxy coach Sigi Schmid’s name was brought up, he did not rule out a return. Klein did, however, rule out former assistant Dave Sarachan, who only left the team two weeks ago, as a candidate for the job.
According to Klein, the Galaxy will be looking at several candidates with MLS experience, including some current MLS coaches, and will look at at least one international candidate without prior MLS experience. He said the club hope to have a coach hired by the end of the year.
Klein was also asked about the impact of MLS newcomers LAFC on the Galaxy’s decisions this offseason:
“We’re excited about the addition of LAFC into the league & market place, but in terms how it impacts our decision: it doesn’t.”
On one hand, that makes sense, of course. LAFC won’t even begin playing until 2018, and even with a good rivalry teams are not constantly thinking about the adversary with every decision.
But to say that the Galaxy, in a transition mode, are not considering the ramifications vis a vis LAFC can’t be right. The Galaxy are worried about the Galaxy, rightly so, but if they start to falter in the standings in the next year or two, it could provide a market boost for LAFC, if they are poised to capitalize.
But many decisions, with both teams, have yet to be made, and time will tell if this new era for the Galaxy will be as successful as the one just passed, or if LA’s high flyers will move closer to earth in the years to come.