CARSON, Calif. – One of the Galaxy’s worst-kept secrets for the past two weeks appears to finally have been revealed.
The Los Angeles Times’ Kevin Baxter reported Thursday the five-time MLS Cup champions decided to name Dennis te Kloese as their new general manager/head of soccer operations.
Per Baxter, the Galaxy declined to comment on the report.
The news came exactly one month after Vice President of Soccer Operations Pete Vagenas was fired and nearly 90 days after Sigi Schmid was relieved of his head coaching duties.
Te Kloese, 44, was director of Mexico’s national teams and has held several positions within the federation as well as with Liga MX power Chivas de Guadalajara. He also spent time as director of the Mexican youth national teams and saw them capture the men’s gold medal at the Olympics in 2012 and twice make it to the semifinals in the U-17 World Cup.
Stateside, te Kloese was director of soccer for former MLS side Chivas USA (2005-2008) and helped guide the Goats to a top-three Western Conference finish in three of his four years with the club. In 2007, Chivas USA finished at the top of the conference.
He’s a native of the Netherlands and was a Dutch international defender with the U-17’s and U-20’s. He moved to Mexico in 2003 to take over as scouting director at Chivas de Guadalajara.
Te Kloese, CoG has learned, is scheduled to speak with Galaxy supporters on Monday and was seen attending at least one Galaxy academy training last week.
The parent club has missed the MLS Cup playoffs in the last two years, and te Kloese figures to have his hands full in bringing championships back to the club.
The Galaxy currently are without a head coach — although interim head coach Dominic Kinnear appears to be in line for the permanent job — and have only 16 players on what should be a 28-man roster. The Galaxy also must quickly prepare for the MLS Expansion Draft on Dec. 11, when FC Cincinnati will make its first official MLS personnel moves, and figure out how to keep Swedish superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic content and with the club.
Te Kloese’s first big hurdle could be trying to rid the club of Mexican national teamer Giovani dos Santos, who made $6 million last year despite playing in just 14 games and scoring only three goals and is likely to make $6.5 million in 2019.
Te Kloese will be busy with all aspects of the Galaxy’s soccer operations. That includes digging back into the Galaxy’s academy and USL programs, something te Kloese should come well-prepared for.
With his connections throughout soccer, both nationally and internationally, te Kloese could be the all-encompassing fix the Galaxy need. And with his hand on the pulse of every move the Galaxy make on all levels of the program, there will be no question as to who is in charge of the club’s future successes and failures.
An official announcement from the club is expected early next week.
UPDATE: Galaxy officially announced the signing of Dennis te Kloese on Monday, December 11.
“I am grateful and excited for the opportunity to join the LA Galaxy and look forward to strengthening all soccer operations within this club,” said te Kloese in a press release from the club. “The LA Galaxy and its supporters expect to compete for championships year-in and year-out. I am fully committed to putting together a team capable of competing at the highest level.
“That work begins immediately and will encompass a wide range of responsibilities, from developing competitive edges in our scouting, recruiting and player development to establishing our youth initiatives and further establishing our Academy.
“I want to thank Mr. Anschutz, Dan Beckerman and Chris Klein for this opportunity and the trust lead the soccer operations group at the most successful club in Major League Soccer.”
“Dennis has in-depth experience and proven success on an MLS level, a youth level and an international level,” said LA Galaxy President Chris Klein. “We are confident in his abilities to improve our club’s soccer operations in all facets. We welcome his leadership and are excited to have him begin as General Manager. We will provide him with comprehensive resources to be successful.”