LAFC hires USMNT vet Steve Cherundolo as new head coach

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Former U.S. national team member Steve Cherundolo has been named Los Angeles FC’s new head coach.

LAFC confirmed Cherundolo’s hiring Monday as the replacement for Bob Bradley, the first coach in the expansion franchise’s history.

Bradley and LAFC agreed to part ways late last year after the club missed the MLS playoffs for the first time. Bradley was quickly hired as Toronto FC’s coach and sporting director.

While LAFC fans floated several prominent international names for the job, general manager John Thorrington replaced the second-winningest coach in league history with an MLS newcomer who spent last season as the head coach of the Las Vegas Lights, LAFC’s USL affiliate.

Cherundolo grew up in the San Diego area and spent his entire professional playing career in Germany as a right back for Hannover 96, eventually becoming captain during 16 seasons with the club. He also made 87 appearances for the U.S. national team, scoring two goals.

He moved immediately into coaching upon retirement in 2014, and he spent five years in Hannover’s system before brief stints on the coaching staffs at Stuttgart, the U.S. national team and the German national youth teams.

He took over in Las Vegas last year. The Lights went 6-23-3 in his only season in charge and finished last in their conference, but LAFC was happy with Cherundolo’s developmental work.

LAFC still has several personnel decisions to make for the upcoming season, which begins Feb. 26. Former MLS MVP Carlos Vela is under contract until June, and his supporting cast must be assembled.

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