Chivas USA went outside the country to find their new boss in hiring former Puebla coach José Luis Sánchez Solá, better known as Chelís.
Perhaps such a move is fitting, as the Mexican coaching veteran is an outsider in his own right. He does not just think outside the box — his entire being is outside the box.
Eccentric, outspoken and sometimes controversial, Chelís brings a unique style to the fraternity of coaches in MLS. And while he will soon begin to acclimate himself to the league, his new club and his new way of life, one thing will never change.
“I’ll continue being unorthodox,” he told FutbolMLS.com. “I have to continue being Chelís. Based on that, I won’t change anything but simply will instill in the players that type of personality or leadership that I’m supposed to have.”
MLS coaches have typically walked a straight line, which could make Chelís stand out even more. As if he didn't already with his clean-shaven head, his colorful suits — including some garish outfits — and his trademark sideline remonstrations.
“I don’t act, nor am I made of cardboard. I am who I am and every action I take should reflect what Chelís stands for,” he said. “I don’t know how to do anything differently nor do I have time to change.”
In order to have success in MLS, however, Chelís must learn MLS. He admitted that he is not up to speed on the league, but he will have that area covered soon enough.
“I have an advisor, someone who knows the league and its players perfectly," he said. "[Former Chivas Guadalajara head coach] José Luis Real is familiar with the institution and MLS and he is advising me what players could adapt to the league.”
In addition to Real's advice, Chelís also retained two assistant coaches from the previous Chivas USA staff — Carlos Llamosa, as well as goalkeeper coach Daniel Gonzalez — and will bring with him a trio of assistants from his last stop, with Correcaminos in Mexico’s second division.
But for all the support staff around him, the goal is for Chivas USA to take on Chelís' personality. He is not one to blend in and he will not want his team to blend in either to become just any other MLS side.
If Chelís has his way, Chivas USA, a club that has missed the MLS playoffs for three consecutive years, are set to receive an injection of flair and pizzazz that will make them pleasing to the eye.
“I know what people like because I’ve been a fan longer than I’ve been a coach," he said. "The result is a logical step because for me the process is important, how the 90 minutes are played out. In that eagerness to produce a spectacle, my game has to be spectacular.
"If I am not true to my ideals, I would betray myself. Games should be 7-5 or 6-4 and hopefully we’re the ones scoring six and the rival with four. People like that.”