LAFC made their first technical hire on Tuesday, when the club named former MLS midfielder John Thorrington as their executive VP of soccer operations.
A Southern California native, Thorrington spent nine seasons in MLS, playing six years with the Chicago Fire, two seasons with the Vancouver Whitecaps and one season with D.C. United before retiring in March 2014. The 36-year-old moved to the MLS Players’ Union after hanging it up, where he served as a special assistant to MLSPU executive director Bob Foose.
Thorrington started his career in Europe, signing a youth contract with Manchester United at age 17 and spending three years with the Red Devils before moving to Bayer Leverkusen in 1999. He failed to make a first team appearance in Germany, bouncing around the lower leagues in England for three years before signing with Chicago in 2005.
Thorrington will assume leadership of player and personnel decisions for LAFC, which will enter MLS in 2018.
“It’s good to be back home,” Thorrington said at his introductory press conference on Tuesday. “I grew up here on the South Bay. I left here at the age of 17 to pursue my dream which was to play at Manchester United and I can’t think of anything that could have gotten me to leave this amazing city [other] than soccer, and it’s soccer that’s bringing me back.”
Thorrington, who had four career caps with the US national team, made 103 regular season appearances in his MLS career, which saw him serve as captain for all three of his clubs.
“The teams that fans more readily and most passionately identify with are those that represent what's great about their city,” he continued. “And that’s the team I intend to build. A team that excites our fans, makes our fans proud and delivers a championship-caliber team to our fans. That process starts with conversations with those fans to help make those visions a reality.”