LA Galaxy owners Anschutz Entertainment Group must read this blog. Less than a week after my post about why the Galaxy need to fire Alexi Lalas. Today Tim Leiweke, president and CEO of AEG announced that Ruud Gullit has resigned as coach of the Los Angeles Galaxy for personal reasons, and president/general manager Alexi Lalas also is out of a job.
Gullit who signed a three-year contract last November, making him one of the MLS’ highest-paid coaches will be replaced on an interim basis by 37-year-old Cobi Jones.
“I think this was a tough move professionally and personally for Ruud,” Leiweke said. “I don’t think it was working out for him and his family. I have no issues with Ruud, I appreciate what he’s done for us. And we move on.”
While the Galaxy is spinning it that Gullit left the team because of “family problems” that is only partially true. Yes Gullit’s family never really settled in California, he also really struggled with the complexities of Major League Soccer.
European managers don’t have to deal with things like salary caps, Super Drafts and combines . Add to this a fractured relationship with Lalas and player unrest and it is not surprising that Gullit decided that MLS was not for him.
The Galaxy brought Gullit in to get the Galaxy into the play-offs, which they are in danger of missing. The next manager of the Galaxy knows that they have to make the play-offs or they will be out of a job.
As for Alexi Lalas it is about time. Lalas’s contract was up at the end of the year and AEG took Gullit’s resignation to clear house and get rid of Lalas also. Leiweke commented:
“With Ruud moving on, we believe that this is the right time to make more sweeping changes throughout the organization,” said Leiweke. “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.”
Cleaning house and firing Lalas is a good move by AEG. Hopefully this will be the last time we will ever see Lalas running an MLS team.
So what is next for the LA Galaxy? AEG had high hopes of making the LA Galaxy the flagship of Major League Soccer when they got the team and they have invested a lot of money (Beckham) in the team over the last two years. After seven consecutive loses the Galaxy are in danger of missing the MLS Playoffs for the second consecutive year.
The wild card in the Galaxy’s plans is David Beckham. Beckham is the face of MLS and I am sure that he will have a significant input on the next Galaxy coach. Gullit was Beckham’s 2nd coach in twelve months and if the next coach last one season also then we might see Beckham angling for a move back to England in 2009.