New Chivas USA sporting director promises winning, pride

Dennis te Kloese

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GUADALAJARA, Mexico – New Chivas de Guadalajara and Chivas USA sporting director Dennis te Kloese is promising a bright future for fans of both clubs, but is keeping his cards close to his chest on how it will be achieved.

“The objective is that Chivas and Chivas USA should be winning teams and more than anything sources of pride for the fans,” announced te Kloese in a press conference here on Wednesday.

Explanations of how te Kloese, whose hiring was announced on Christmas Eve, will split his time between the two institutions and what will be the process of improving Chivas USA from their dismal performance over the last three MLS seasons were not touched upon, with the Dutchman set to carry out an in-depth analysis of the structure of both clubs first.

“Dennis will decide [how he divides] his time in each of the clubs and obviously I think that the important thing is the team of people in place, above all in Chivas USA,” said team owner Jorge Vergara, speaking via videoconference from Los Angeles.

Vergara added that he is confident the Dutchman has the ability to succeed on both sides of the border thanks to his experience as scouting coordinator in Chivas Guadalajara (between 2003 and 2005) and his work as director of soccer in Chivas USA (2005-08).

One positive sign for suffering Chivas USA fans was te Kloese’s repetitive mention of the American franchise, not solely focusing on the parent club in Guadalajara, both in his statement and answering of questions, despite the assembled press questioning him almost exclusively about Chivas Guadalajara.

“I’d also like to give a lot of importance to the Chivas USA project,” said te Kloese, without being pushed. “Time is short with the draft in January, they’ve only just appointed a coach and there are a lot of other issues.” ...

"[We have to] carry out a full analysis so we can come up with a good work plan in a short time span.”

Chivas USA hired former Puebla coach José Luis Sánchez Solá, aka “Chelís,” as first team coach in early December. Both he and Vergara have talked in interviews about strengthening the links between the two clubs, as well as the need to inject a more Latino flavor into Chivas USA.

Te Kloese didn’t broach the subject on Wednesday, but does have detailed knowledge of talent in Southern California, having brought a number of young Mexican-American players to Tigres UANL where he was the academy director between October 2008 and December 2011.

The Dutchman’s most recent post was as the general coordinator of youth teams with the Mexican soccer federation.

Tom Marshall covers Americans playing in Latin America for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at tom.marshall.mex@gmail.com.