SAN JOSE - The San Jose Earthquakes announced today that President & General Manager Alexi Lalas will depart the club to take over as the President & General Manager of the MetroStars, effective immediately. Former MetroStars President & General Manager Nick Sakiewicz has been named President, AEG Soccer New York/New Jersey, while Earthquakes Vice President of Business Operations Kate McAllister will serve as interim President & General Manager of the Earthquakes.
"It's been a privilege and an honor over the past two years to work with a staff and team that has always represented this club with professionalism and integrity," Lalas said. "I have a profound respect for the way they have handled adversity and still found ways to grow the business."
Lalas became the first former MLS player to serve in a management position in the league when he was named President & General Manager of the Earthquakes on January 27, 2004. During his time in San Jose, Lalas oversaw a 24 percent increase in attendance, and played a role in the Quakes increasing group sales 70 percent from 2003 to 2004.
"I believe this organization is prepared to continue its success throughout the year," Lalas said. "I expect the Earthquakes to remain strong both on and off the field."
The Quakes 2004 average attendance of 13,001 for 15 home games was the highest-average season attendance since 1999. Lalas saw the Quakes increase season tickets to an all-time high in 2004, with an increase of more than 22 percent from 2003.
"Alexi and his staff have done a phenomenal job in San Jose, and the opportunity to run the MetroStars and create a team that is highly respected both on and off the pitch and in the number one market in the world is something he has earned and we need," AEG President & CEO Tim Leiweke said. "New York/New Jersey is our highest priority within the league and Alexi very much looks forward to the challenge."
Lalas joined the Earthquakes after a stellar seven-year MLS career in which he played in 169 games for four teams. Lalas cemented his place in MLS history by making five MLS All-Star appearances and the 2002 MLS Best XI squad. The Detroit native played 96 times for the U.S. National Team, appearing in the 1992 and 1996 Olympics and the 1994 World Cup. Lalas remains the only American player to ever play in Italy's Serie "A", signing with Padova in 1994.