Chivas USA focused on finding right man

Goats want coach with track record that understands team, MLS

CARSON, Calif. — Since releasing Martín Vásquez as head coach on Oct. 27, Chivas USA have been conducting an exhaustive search for a new conductor. With the 2010 MLS Expansion Draft and the 2011 SuperDraft both on the horizon, the Goats are eager to find the right man for the job as quickly as possible.

“The search is going well,” Chivas USA vice president of soccer operations Stephen Hamilton told after training on Tuesday. “We’ve talked to a number of candidates, and we have a couple more we’re looking to talk with. We’ve done a number of preliminary interviews and we’ll continue to evaluate internally and set up the next round.”

This season, the Red-and-White struggled to find their rhythm and missed the playoffs for the first time in five years. With a record of 8-18-4 – good for last place in the Western Conference – the team scored just 31 goals in 30 matches.

Needless to say, whoever assumes the head coaching position will have plenty of pressure to turn the ship around in 2011.

“We’re looking for someone with a proven track record, somebody that has a winning mentality,” Hamilton said, “but also, somebody that understands our league – whether they’ve been in our league or have paid attention to our league – and understand the mechanisms in terms of how MLS works.”

Besides “someone that has an idea of how they want to play and who can help us in terms of identifying some players that we need to bring in,” the Goats’ search committee also wants someone who can take into account Chivas USA’s important connection with Mexican and South American fans.

“We obviously have a unique brand and a unique connection to Chivas de Guadalajara and to Mexico,” Hamilton said. “We have a good core group of Hispanic fans, so we definitely want [a head coach] that understands the brand attributes and understands the importance of us continuing to build a team that’s reflective of the community that we live in and that we represent.”

While the team may be without a head coach for a bit, that hasn’t stopped the organization from moving forward through the offseason. Chivas USA are preparing for the upcoming MLS Expansion Draft, and the players have been in training intermittently throughout the last two weeks.

“We’re evaluating our season, we’re evaluating the individual player performances, and we’re in the process of making decisions with our ownership group in regards to players,” said Hamilton. “We have some deadlines coming up with regards to the Expansion Draft and player contract renewals. We’re working through that process.”

Hamilton has no problem handling most of the team business while the search for a head coach continues because, while he’s excited about finding the right guy for the position, he’s in no hurry to make an uninformed decision.

“We’re going to take our time,” he said. “We’re going to do it right. We’re more focused on finding the right guy versus hitting a set timeline.”

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