Chivas USA have a new man in charge.
Major League Soccer announced on Wednesday that it has named former longtime league executive Nelson Rodriguez as the club’s new president, giving Chivas USA a seasoned industry veteran to call the shots while MLS continues its search for a new ownership group.
MLS purchased Chivas USA from former owners Jorge Vergara and Angelica Fuentes last week and and assumed responsibility for operating the club until a new ownership group is finalized before the 2015 season.
Rodriguez most recently served as the league’s executive vice president of competition, technical and game operations, and was the public face of the MLS Disciplinary Committee after it was created in 2012. He stepped down from the position in January.
Chivas USA head coach Wilmer Cabrera, who joined the club Jan. 9 and will lead the team into their season opener on March 9 at the StubHub Center, will continue in his position and report to Rodriguez.
“I am thankful for the opportunity and recognize the responsibility in what is an important season for the club,” Rodriguez said in a statement. “Regardless of the ownership status, this team and staff will compete on all fronts and we look forward to the challenge.”
Rodriguez spent 14 years in the league office, also serving as a senior executive for MLS' commercial arm, Soccer United Marketing. Prior to joining MLS, the New Jersey native was a club executive for the New York/New Jersey MetroStars and was a member of the 1994 FIFA World Cup local organizing committee for the Giants Stadium venue.
“I have had the privilege of working with Nelson for 14 years and am very pleased that he has agreed to serve as the president of Chivas USA,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a statement. “Based on his long experience on both the business and sporting side of our game, I have great confidence that he will provide strong leadership for the club during this transition year.”
The club will play as Chivas USA during the 2014 MLS season and will be rebranded with a new team name and logo as determined by the new ownership group.