Major League Soccer announced Friday that Alfonso Mondelo, former head coach of the MetroStars and Tampa Bay Mutiny in MLS, has been appointed as Director of Player Programs. With a primary focus on the technical and competitive aspects of MLS, Mondelo will serve as the League's liaison with MLS head coaches, as well as with other national and international soccer organizations. He will also work closely on the development of the Reserve League, which debuts in 2005.
"We are very proud to welcome an experienced and respected soccer professional like Alfonso Mondelo," said MLS Deputy Commissioner Ivan Gazidis. "His expertise and soccer network, developed during years of studying games and players on the local and national level, will prove to be an invaluable asset to the League and its teams and the development of the American professional game."
Among Mondelo's responsibilities is the formulation of evaluations and reports on competitive and player development in MLS, scouting and evaluating of domestic and international talent as well as developing relationships with foreign clubs and federations. With over 20 years of experience on the sidelines and in the front office, Mondelo will also serve as ambassador to various constituents with regards to matters of a competitive nature including: youth organizations, media and fans. In his new role Mondelo will also retain his position as a member of the national staffs for the U.S. Under-18 and Under-14 National Teams.
"It is an honor to return to MLS and contribute with my experience to its continuing progress and that of soccer in the United States," said Mondelo. "I look forward to participating in the League's development, especially focusing on the ever-growing Hispanic population and furthering its ties to MLS at this important juncture in the history of our sport."
Before joining MLS, Mondelo was the Director of Coaching for the Eastern New York Soccer Association since 2002, overseeing programs at the state and national levels, as well as the Olympic Development Program (ODP). In 2004, he was a member of the U.S. Under-18 National Team coaching staff for trips to Argentina and Mexico, and several players he coached moved to MLS, including Danny Szetela (Columbus Crew) and Michael Bradley (MetroStars). Mondelo formerly headed a joint youth development program for MLS players when he was head coach of the Project-40 program.
Following a knee injury which prematurely ended his career in 1979, Mondelo, former player for AD Torrejón in the Spanish Second Division, was a head coach of the Puerto Rican National Team (1992) and Long Island RoughRiders (1994-1997) before joining the MetroStars in 1998. He led the MetroStars to a 14-17 record and an MLS Cup Playoff berth. Following his first MLS coaching experience, Mondelo joined MLS as Director of Player Development and head coach of the Project-40 program. He returned to the MLS sidelines with the Tampa Bay Mutiny in 2001.
Among his work with U.S. Soccer, Mondelo was a youth scout in 1999, a member of Bruce Arena's national team staff which finished third in 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup, as well as being an instructor for the federation's coaching education programs, focusing on Hispanic and minority opportunities.
A native of Baracaldo, Spain, Mondelo resides in Franklin Square, New York.
Major League Soccer's 10th season kicks off on Saturday, April 2 in Carson, Calif., when expansion Club Deportivo Chivas USA hosts MLS Cup champion D.C. United at 3:00 p.m. ET (ABC Sports).