The San Jose Earthquakes on Tuesday unveiled the assistants on head coach Matias Almeyda’s staff for the 2019 MLS season, featuring a quartet that worked with Almeyda in his previous role in charge of CD "Chivas" Guadalajara.
Omar Zarif and Benjamin Galindo will serve as assistant coaches, Carlos Roa joins as a goalkeeper coach, Guido Bonini will oversee strength and conditioning, and Fabio Alvarez will take over as the team’s kinesiologist. Only Galindo was not a part of Almeyda's Chivas contingent.
The move also marks the official end of former assistant and interim head coach Steve Ralston's coaching tenure in San Jose, as well as that of fitness coach Greg Tella.
“We are adding a technical staff that has worked together for several years,” Earthquakes general manager Jesse Fioranelli said in a statement. “They have engrained processes and a way of including players and existing staff members in an inclusive and engaging way. We’re also excited for Matias’ staff to bridge the first team and youth sector.
Zarif transitioned from a long playing career in Argentina to a position on Almeyda's staff at Argentine club Banfield during the 2015 season. The now-40-year-old followed Almeyda to Liga MX later that year.
Galindo will be well-known to longtime fans of the Mexico national team and the nation's first division, with 28 international goals for El Tri and more than 200 professionally in a career with more than 700 appearances. The 57-year-old also brings previous head coaching experience from Mexico, where he took the helm in two separate stints at Chivas, as well as at Santos Laguna, Cruz Azul and Atlas. He won the 2012 Clausura with Santos and was also named that season's best manager.
Roa, 49, brings extensive club experience from Argentina and Spain, as well as the Argentina national team, for which he was a starter at the 1998 FIFA World Cup and earned 16 caps overall. Former Quakes goalkeeper coach Jyri Nieminen will remain with the club and work with Roa on player development, with the tandem overseeing the first team, USL affiliate Reno 1868 FC and the club's youth academy.
“I have a lot of belief in our work,” Almeyda said in a statement. “Incorporating our jobs with the people that are already here, I believe we can make a good team for the players that they can trust and feel comfortable with. I want them to know that they can make mistakes, but with each mistake there is a lesson.
“I’m very happy because I won’t go anywhere without them. I would never go to a new team alone or with just one or two of them. This is not my job alone. My job will always be with them.”