The LA Galaxy announced that Curt Onalfo will succeed Bruce Arena as Head Coach. Onalfo, who has twice been named head coach in Major League Soccer, was most recently the Head Coach for the LA Galaxy’s USL affiliate, LA Galaxy II.
He was formally introduced to the press at a Press Conference held at StubHub Center today.
Curt Onalfo originally got his MLS head coaching start with the Kansas City Wizards (now Sporting KC). Onalfo lasted two and half seasons and amassed a record of 27-29-22 and had his team make the playoffs in one of those years.
Later, in 2009, Onalfo would be named the head coach of DC United but wouldn’t make it through the entire season. He went 3-12-3 before being replaced in August of 2010. He then joined the LA Galaxy’s coaching staff in 2011. He was named to head the team’s Reserve side and was then promoted to the Head Coach of LA Galaxy II when the team was created in 2014.
During his tenure with LA Galaxy II, Onalfo led the team to a 41-20-25 record with a runner-up finish in 2015 that almost saw the USL side become the first MLS run club to win the USL Championship. And while the results of LA Galaxy II can always be talked about, the stated goal of the club is to develop young talent and let players learn from mistakes made while getting playing time. It wasn’t necessarily about results.
When speaking to those that know the coaching style of Onalfo they say he’s well liked by his players. He’s fair, encouraging when he needs to be, will get after players when he thinks it’s necessary, but garners respect from those he coaches.
Curt Onalfo will be under immediate pressure when it comes to results. His shaky MLS head coaching history will not immediately instill confidence in his decisions and he won’t get the benefit of the doubt that Bruce Arena so often enjoyed. He’ll also need to deal with finding and integrating new Designated Players (DPs) into a returning core and he’ll need to improve a team that finished third in the Western Conference but was very far away from a championship.
And does Onalfo have the gravitas to convince the next Superstar DP to come to Los Angeles and play for the Galaxy?
In addition, the LA Galaxy are playing their final season as the lone Major League Soccer franchise in Los Angeles. Los Angeles Football Club will join the league in 2018 and they’ll be ready and willing to capitalize on any LA Galaxy missteps.
Bruce Arena guaranteed the LA Galaxy a chance at post season glory. Will Curt Onalfo do the same?