SECAUCUS, N.J. - Anschutz Entertainment Group announced today that Alexi Lalas will be named the new President and General Manager of the MetroStars. Lalas fills the void left by Nick Sakiewicz, who was promoted to President, AEG Soccer New York/New Jersey.
Alexi Lalas comes to the MetroStars from the San Jose Earthquakes, where he oversaw all business and soccer operations as the club's President and General Manager since January 27, 2004. During his first year as the team's President and General Manager in 2004, the 'Quakes enjoyed a 24 percent boost in overall attendance and a 70 percent increase in group ticket sales from the 2003 season. This season, he built on the significant progress he made in '04 and continued to establish relationships with key members of the San Jose political, business and public communities.
"In 10 years of existence, the MetroStars have yet to win a championship. That's unacceptable," said AEG's President and CEO, Tim Leiweke. "Alexi's mission is to build a club that will compete and win championships in the future. It is imperative for the MetroStars to make it a higher priority to integrate themselves and their new stadium into the soccer community of New York/New Jersey. No one understands the amateur soccer community or the product on the pitch better than Alexi. We have now taken two of our best and brightest and asked them to make the MetroStars one of the better football clubs in the world. That is our commitment."
"It is a privilege to be given the opportunity to guide a club that I feel has the potential, on and off the field, to achieve worldwide recognition," said Lalas. "I look forward to helping the MetroStars become the first SuperClub to emerge out of MLS. And make no mistake; the race is on for that distinction. Whether it's championships, attendance, corporate relationships, stadium projects or simply brand awareness, the MetroStars need to set the standard and be a dominant force, in this league and in the world."
Lalas joined the Earthquakes after an outstanding soccer career that began with his first cap on the U.S. national team in 1991. An Olympian in 1992 and 1996, Lalas was a member of the United States' 1994 World Cup team and in 1995, he was named U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year. On the international club level, Lalas became the only American player ever to play in Italy's Serie A, as he signed with Padova in 1994 and scored three goals during the 1994-1995 season.
He has long been one of the leading figures and most familiar faces in United States soccer and he cemented his place in MLS history by making five all-star appearances over his seven-year career and garnering MLS Best XI honors in 2002. Lalas' MLS career began with the New England Revolution, who he played with for two seasons and then moved on to the MetroStars in 1998. He spent one season with the Kansas City Wizards in 1999 before retiring for the 2000 season. However, he returned to MLS in 2001 and appeared in 59 games for the Los Angeles Galaxy over the next three years. As a member of the Galaxy, he captured the 2000 F.C. Champions Cup, the 2001 U.S. Open Cup, and the 2002 MLS Cup Championship.
Lalas served as the 'Quakes color commentator during the 2000 season and has also served as a soccer announcer for NBC, ABC, ESPN, and ESPN2. He also sits on the Board of Advisors for the U.S. Soccer Federation's Grants Committee and the Athletes Council. Lalas served on the Board of Advisors for the FIFA Women's World Cup and in 2004 he joined the national advisory board for the Positive Coaching Alliance.
He also has a distinguished record in the community. He is a member of the Advisory Board of Abdul Thompson Conteh's Children's Fund. From 2001-2003, he donated tickets for Los Angeles Galaxy games to more than 2,000 underprivileged children through his charitable foundation, "Lalas Land."