CARSON, Calif. – In 12 seasons as an MLS defender, Carlos Llamosa was known for his brawn and physical defending style. Now, as an assistant coach with Chivas USA, he's known for his brain.
When head coach Robin Fraser took the job with the Rojiblancos in January, one of his first moves was to retain his onetime US national teammate. The former World Cup defender in 2002 is not short on experience, and sees his job as imparting some of his knowledge to the squad.
"We have a lot of Spanish-speaking players, so I try to pass along the ideas that the coaches have to those guys and on the field," Llamosa told MLSsoccer.com. "Sometimes the coach doesn't have the opportunity to be around everyone so I try to talk to the guys."
Llamosa also serves as Chivas USA's reserve team coach.
"It's good experience for the guys who don't have the chance to play a lot with the first team or the guys that are coming back from injury," Llamosa said. "It's the best way to give them that time on the field."
Michael Lahoud is one player who directly credits Llamosa with helping him become a better player. Despite being a right midfielder, Lahoud has played a lot of minutes this season at right back. It’s a tough transition for any player, but Llamosa has been instrumental in helping Lahoud do so.
"With his experience, you have to give the guy his respect,” Lahoud told MLSsoccer.com. “I remember that I used to watch Carlos when he played for D.C. United as a kids in the stands. It's been quite an honor to get to know him and pick his brains. He's really worked one on one with me during practice, after practice, halftime and pull me aside to point out things that can turn the tide in a positive aspect."
First-team players like Lahoud are not the only benefactors of the reserve coach's wisdom. Llamosa has championed the usage of academy players throughout the reserve season, and the Goats’ Reserve League match against the Galaxy’s second team on Monday saw three Chivas youth academy product take the field.
For Llamosa, providing minutes for these youngsters in reserve matches is key, not only to provide them with needed playing time, but also to help Chivas achieve future success.
"I think this year, we've used the most academy players in the Reserve League season," said Llamosa. "There are a lot of positives because we're able to see those guys and sometimes we have two or three of those guys training with the first team."
Adam Serrano covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com. He can reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.