CARSON, Calif. – With the offseason in full swing for the LA Galaxy, the club announced on Tuesday they had fired Vice President of Soccer Operations Pete Vagenas.
Vagenas, a former Galaxy midfielder and academy director for the five-time MLS Cup champions, had risen through the ranks to hold the second-most powerful position within the organization.
“The club has made the decision to part ways with Pete Vagenas,” Galaxy President Chris Klein said in a press release. “We felt this move was in the best interest of the LA Galaxy going forward.
“Our search for a leader of our soccer operations department and a head coach remains ongoing. We’d like to thank Pete for all of his contributions to the LA Galaxy.”
Vagenas, who was informed of his dismissal over the weekend, was thrust into the spotlight during the 2016 off-season following the departure of long-time head coach and general manager Bruce Arena. During Vagenas’ tenure, the Galaxy were much younger on the field in 2017 and, under former head coach Curt Onalfo, finished a league- and franchise-worst 8-18-8. Onalfo was fired at mid-season and replaced by Sigi Schmid.
Schmid eventually wrestled supposed control over player personnel from Vagenas and the 2018 season ended with the Galaxy finishing seventh in the Western Conference, just out of the playoffs.
It was assumed the Galaxy had given Schmid full control over which players he wanted, but several insiders have claimed the division of duties created somewhat of a power struggle. Part of that struggle surfaced with the Galaxy’s second overall pick in last January’s MLS SuperDraft in Philadelphia. Schmid was said to have overruled Vagenas in favor of selecting Stanford defender Tomas Hilliard-Arce.
Vagenas now enters history in much the same way as Alexi Lalas – respected as a player but scorned for his part in tearing down an original MLS club.
The Galaxy’s hunt for a new president of soccer operations is underway, and there could be some news along those lines quite soon.
“We have some good people,” Klein said. “I wouldn’t expect (more changes) coming quickly, other than the news of someone being hired.
“We’re looking for the right people. What you’re seeing in our league and in other leagues is assembling a group of talented people to tackle this as a team.
“We need to do that,” he continued. “And it’s not just a GM or a coach. It extends through our scouting and certainly beyond with development and things like that. We have a number of things to do.”
The offseason is only going to get busier and the Galaxy currently are behind the proverbial eight ball when it comes to making important decisions about the club’s future. Tuesday’s announcement probably comes about 12 months too late for most fans, but the Galaxy appears to be trying their best to address some major shortcomings.