The LA Galaxy made it official Tuesday afternoon, announcing that Curt Onalfo will become the club’s next head coach.
Several outlets, including the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and ESPN, reported Monday that Onalfo was the frontrunner for the position. The former Kansas City Wizards and D.C. United head coach replaces former Galaxy boss Bruce Arena, who left the club last month to take over as manager of the US men’s national team.
“I am extremely excited and honored to become head coach of the LA Galaxy,” Onalfo said in a statement released by the club. “From my time as a player and a coach here, I know that this is the preeminent soccer club in the United States and I look forward to leading this team going forward. We have put together a fully-realized developmental system for our players and we will continue to be aggressive in signing world-class talent in order to build the most complete roster to compete for MLS Cup titles each season. I am thankful to Mr. Anschutz, Dan Beckerman, Chris Klein and Peter Vagenas for this opportunity. We will begin the process of preparing for the 2017 MLS season immediately.”
Onalfo, 47, has been with the Galaxy organization since 2011. He spent three seasons as an assistant on Arena’s staff, then took over as head coach of LA Galaxy II when they began play in USL in 2014. He had a good deal of success with “Los Dos,” qualifying for the USL playoffs every season, reaching the USL Championship in 2015 and finishing with the third most points in USL across their three campaigns.
While Onalfo had solid results with Galaxy II, his prior stints leading MLS clubs didn’t go as well. He served as Kansas City’s head coach from the start of the 2007 season through August 2009, leading the club to the conference championship in 2007 and conference semifinals in 2008. Kansas City were middling in 2009, however, and Onalfo was dismissed and replaced by Peter Vermes following a 6-0 loss to FC Dallas. He ended his Kansas City stint with a 27-29-22 regular season record.
Onalfo landed in D.C. the following year, but he lasted less than a year with United, getting the axe after compiling a 3-12-3 record in 18 matches in charge at RFK Stadium.
While his MLS results aren't stellar, Onalfo has deep roots with the Galaxy. Under Onalfo, Galaxy II served as a proving ground for Homegrown players on loan from the first team and for other youngsters who have gone on to sign and contribute to the big club, including defenders Daniel Steres and Dave Romney and forward Jack McBean.
An assistant under Arena with the US from 2003-2007, Onalfo is a known quantity for Galaxy president Chris Klein and newly hired general manager Peter Vagenas, and should provide some continuity for LA as they look to transition following the departures of Arena, Robbie Keane, Landon Donovan and Steven Gerrard.
“We have full confidence in Curt’s leadership, ability and dedication to lead the LA Galaxy as our next head coach,” Klein said. “In addition to his experience and knowledge of Major League Soccer as both a player and a coach, Curt has an intimate understanding of the structure and culture of this club and has done a tremendous job with LA Galaxy II. We are excited for Curt to further invest in the LA Galaxy as we continue to provide him with the support and resources necessary to win MLS Cups.”