LA Galaxy Coach Resigns; Team President-GM Fired
CARSON, Calif. -- Ruud Gullit resigned Monday as coach of the Los Angeles Galaxy, citing personal reasons, while the underachieving Major League Soccer team also fired president-general manager Alexi Lalas.
Assistant coach Cobi Jones was named interim coach. Jones, who retired as a player at the conclusion of the 2007 season, will guide the team in Thursday's game against Chivas USA at The Home Depot Center.
No successor to Lalas was immediately named. Paul Bravo, the Galaxy's director of soccer, will continue in the role of overseeing all issues related to the Galaxy's roster, including scouting and evaluating players, overseeing the club's development system and other team administrative functions.
Assistant general manager Tom Payne will continue to oversee the Galaxy front office, including corporate partnerships, ticket sales, marketing, programming, communications, operations and community development.
Despite the presence of legendary English midfielder David Beckham and American forward Landon Donovan leading the league in scoring, the Galaxy is 6-8-5, fourth in the seven-team Western Conference, and in danger of missing the playoffs for a third consecutive season.
Regarding Gullit's departure, Timothy J. Leiweke, president and chief operating office of AEG, the firm that owns the Galaxy, said, "Both parties have agreed on mutually agreeable terms to part company."
"It is an amicable arrangement, and we appreciate and respect the issues that Ruud has highlighted with the club and are very grateful for all the hard work he has contributed while with the organization," Leiweke said. "Hopefully, he has laid the foundations for future success for the Los Angeles Galaxy."
Said Gullit: "In truth, it has proved a lot more difficult than I anticipated for my family to settle in the area, and the club has been very supportive and understanding of my decision. I would like to thank the players and the fans for their fantastic support, and I wish the L.A. Galaxy much success in the future. I would now like to spend some time with my family before considering any other position in football."
Gullit, 45, was named coach last Nov. 8, succeeding Frank Yallop, who was released from his contract to become coach of the San Jose Earthquakes.
Gullit was named the world's "Player of the Year" by the British magazine World Soccer in 1987 and 1989. When he was named "European Footballer of the Year" in 1987, he dedicated the award to the then-imprisoned anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela.
Lalas had been with the Galaxy since April 2006 after serving in the same capacity with the New York Red Bulls.
"With Rudd moving on, we believe that this is the right time to make more sweeping changes throughout the organization," Leiweke said. "Our commitment continues to be focused on not only winning the MLS Cup this and every season, but to build a club capable of competing at the international level."
"This decision is the right one for the organization, the right one for the players and the right one for our fans. We thank Alexi for the tremendous hard work and dedication he brought to his job each and every day," Leiweke said.
LA Galaxy Coach Resigns; Team President-GM Fired - Sports News Story - KNBC | Los Angeles