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The San Jose Earthquakes and Matias Almeyda have parted ways, the club announced Monday, ending a three-and-a-half-year run for the Argentine head coach.

With Almeyda's departure, as well as his coaching staff, San Jose have appointed Alex Covelo as interim head coach. Covelo has served as head coach for Earthquakes II in MLS NEXT Pro, with MLS legends Steve Ralston and Chris Wondolowski, as well as Quakes II assistant coach Luciano Fusco, all joining as interim assistants.

San Jose are starting the search for a permanent head coach immediately.

“Over the past four years, Matias has given everything he has to our club, and we recognize the efforts he made,” Earthquakes managing partner John Fisher said in a release. “I have had a chance to get to know him and his family during his time here, and we really appreciate what they have done for the Earthquakes. We wish them well in the future.”

Almeyda's tenure

Almeyda joined San Jose in October 2018, making him the sixth-longest tenured manager in MLS before his departure. But El Pelado’s teams made the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs once (2020) during his time at PayPal Park, leading to a 31W-42L-25D regular-season record, including a seven-game winless start this year (worst in club history).

The 48-year-old was renowned for his man-marking defensive scheme, which led to highs and lows for the Earthquakes. That approach also influenced San Jose’s player recruitment strategy, producing electrifying wins alongside lopsided losses – making their games often high-scoring, entertaining affairs.

Almeyda was frequently linked to jobs outside of MLS during his time at San Jose, both at the club and international level. He’s a big coaching name in the Americas, leading Liga MX’s Chivas Guadalajara to the 2018 Concacaf Champions League title before shipping to the United States. Other stops include River Plate and Banfield in his home country.

“I want to thank Matias and his staff for all their hard work and passion since 2019,” Earthquakes general manager Chris Leitch said in a release. “He has been a true professional and brought his full effort to every training session and match. Despite those efforts, we have not gotten the results that we or he wanted. We wish Matias and his staff the best of luck moving forward. There is still a lot of soccer to be played this season and we believe that we have a roster that can compete for the playoffs.”

Covelo's background and the roster

Covelo originally joined the Earthquakes as the club’s director of methodology in April 2017, establishing a one-club game development program for players and coaches. He's worked closely with many San Jose academy products.

Covelo was previously a coaching instructor at Ekkono Soccer Services Group based out of Barcelona that leads the technical program of French powerhouse Paris Saint-Germain. He also served as the head coach of San Marino in the Italian third division from 2014-15, and worked in his native Spain at RCD Espanyol.

San Jose turn to the likes of goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski, midfielder Jackson Yueill, forward Cade Cowell and striker Jeremy Ebobisse as cornerstones of their roster. This offseason, Leitch’s first at the helm, they added several players with MLS experience: defender Francisco Calvo and midfielders Jan Gregus and Jamiro Monteiro.

San Jose, who last won silverware in 2012 with the Supporters’ Shield, had multi-year periods of coaching stability under Frank Yallop and Dominic Kinnear before Almeyda. Now, they’ll hope for another long-term solution.