San Jose Earthquakes name USMNT assistant coach Luchi Gonzalez as manager

ByJeff Carlisle via ESPN logo
Thursday, August 18, 2022
ESPN

The San Jose Earthquakeshave confirmed the appointment of United States men's national teamassistantcoach Luchi Gonzalez as the club's new manager.

Gonzalez, 42, will take charge following the 2022 World Cup at the end of this year. The native of Hialeah, Fla., replaces Matias Almeyda, who was fired back in April following an 0-4-3 start to the season.

Since then, the Quakes have been managed on an interim basis by Alex Covelo, who will remain in charge for the remainder of the 2022 season. San Jose currently sits in 13th place in the 14-team Western Conference, with 24 points from 25 matches.

- MLS on ESPN+: Stream LIVE games, replays (U.S. only)

- Soccer on ESPN+: FC Daily | Futbol Americas

-Don't have ESPN? Get instant access

"I know that for me to be a part of a project to reach its potential, for me to optimize my ability as a head coach, my leadership as a head coach, then there has to be a minimum standard of investment and not just a minimum, but like an ambition of an investment in the staff and in the player pool and, and improving this roster," Gonzalez said at a news conference as he was unveiled on Wednesday.

"And I felt full commitment from that, from the leadership and from ownership and I'm excited to, to see the club take that next step."

At the World Cup, the U.S. is scheduled to play Wales on Nov. 21, England four days later and Iran on Nov. 29 as they attempt to qualify for the knockout stage.

"This is a moment where maybe it's a little earlier than I expected, especially since my focus has been on the U.S. and the World Cup, but certainly flattering and honoring," Gonzalez said. "U.S. Soccer and San Jose have been in touch the last month and a half.

"It's definitely not black or white," he added of balancing the two roles. "It's going to be a compromise. Obviously I've got the full support from Gregg Berhalter, U.S. Soccer in terms of my ability to be focused, compartmentalized and be very present for all my roles for U.S. Soccer.

"I'm gonna go above and beyond to make sure that U.S. Soccer and those players and that staff, they have the best version of me to compete in the World Cup. But yeah, I will have moments where I will obviously be connected with San Jose to give my thoughts. I need to build the relationship and understand the current staff that's there, the player pool and I think that's important just to understand better the club and what the needs are to improve."

Gonzalez's only previous managerial experience was with FC Dallas, a post he held for parts of three seasons starting with the 2019 campaign after leading the club's academy for six years prior to that.

He led FCD to the playoffs twice, once in 2019 and again during the pandemic impacted campaign in 2020. Along the way, he forged a reputation for developing young players, a group that included Boavista defender Reggie Cannon, Venezia midfielder Tanner Tessmann, and Augsburg forward Ricardo Pepi.

But he was fired with six weeks to go in the 2021 regular season after compiling a record of just 6-11-9. His overall league and playoff record with Dallas was 28-31-26. He took on his current role with the USMNT in December of 2021.

As a player, Gonzalez played collegiately at Southern Methodist University and was the sixth overall selection of the Quakes in the 2002 MLS SuperDraft. But he made just eight appearances for San Jose that season. He went to play in Sweden for Bodens BK and Peruvian side Sporting Cristal before returning to MLS with the Colorado Rapids in 2005 where he spent two seasons. He finished out his career with second tier sides Miami FC and the Minnesota Thunder.

"Luchi has all of the attributes that we sought in our next head coach," Earthquakes general manager Chris Leitch said in a team release. "He has had success coaching in Major League Soccer with playoff appearances in his first two seasons and has a very strong track record in youth development. His strengths and desires align with our short and long-term goals as a club, and we look forward to him taking the reins after the World Cup."