CARSON, Calif. – Chivas USA head coach José Luis “El Chelís” Sánchez Solá has provided his share of memorable quotes through the first two months of the MLS season but, in a moment of careful introspection this past weekend, he might have given his most revealing one yet following his team’s eighth game.
“These players have made me better,” Chelís told reporters after Saturday's 2-2 draw against the San Jose Earthquakes. “They’ve made me analyze things that I didn’t see before. I am better than when I arrived on January 6. I’m a better coach and, really, a better human being. I’m happy with myself and with this group. I’m very, very happy. I have options to do other things, but I’m happy here.”
It was the latest reflective comment from the outspoken manager. Following a home victory earlier this season, Chelís joked he was a “very, very bad coach,” and even suggested, with a stern look on his face, he was perhaps the worst coach in the league.
Chelís has been very visible on the sideline, but not always as a cheerleader. He left for the Home Depot Center locker room during the April 13 game against the Colorado Rapids, though the first half had not ended. Then, on April 20 at Real Salt Lake, he reportedly got into a verbal argument with Javier Morales as the player walked off the pitch during a late-game substitution.
“Chelís is very passionate and emotional, and it shows he cares,” forward Tristan Bowen told MLSsoccer.com. “He expects more out of us. Every player wants to get results. … We prepare well, but we’re human. He doesn’t mean it to put us down or show he’s disappointed.
"It’s probably better that he removes himself rather than do something completely bizarre. If he feels he needs to step away, which is something some people might deem as immature, but it’s a mature thing to do if he feels he’s going to blow up. It’s not a big deal. We know how Chelís is and we’re fine with it.”
Chelís, according to another player, has not changed his persona since arriving from Mexican side Puebla.
“He’s still the same person, positive and motivating,” midfielder Carlos Borja told MLSsoccer.com recently. “I don’t think much of it. It’s Chelís. He’s different from any other coach and special in his own way. It’s not bad or anything we worry about. He expresses himself in ways other people don’t, but that’s just him. He’s a good coach and we all respect him. We buy into his system. There’s no problem with what he does.”