CARSON, Calif. – For four years, Curt Onalfo was a man in charge.
When the Kansas City Wizards reached the 2007 Western Conference Championship, Onalfo piloted the ship. When D.C. United needed someone to help turn their franchise around last year, they turned to Onalfo.
However, both Kansas City and DC eventually parted ways with him after those teams suffered stretches of poor form.
Now an assistant coach with the LA Galaxy, Onalfo (pictured above, at right) said he believes his time as head coach was successful.
“I’ve never let anybody define success for me,” he said. “I’ve always defined that for myself.”
Fired midway through the 2010 season by D.C. United, Onalfo was not in the unemployment line for too long. When the 2011 preseason kicked off, he was where he has been for much of his career, helping an MLS team — this time the Galaxy — prepare for the rigors of training camp and eventually a season.
[inline_node:315276]It was Bruce Arena who brought Onalfo, a familiar face, into the mix at LA. Onalfo played under Arena at D.C. United in 1998 and worked as his assistant for the US national team throughout the 2006 World Cup cycle.
And for Onalfo, the chance to work with Arena once more, and with the Galaxy to boot, was something he could not pass up.
“To be working for a great organization here in MLS, and obviously for a head coach I have unbelievable confidence in and who, in my opinion, is the best coach in the United States ... it’s a unique opportunity, something I’m really looking forward [to],” Onalfo said.
Onalfo and fellow assistant coach Dave Sarachan give the Galaxy experienced assistants as the club prepares for the 2011 season. However, Onalfo has been given a unique chance with the club’s coaching staff: He will serve as the team’s reserve-division coach.
“You’ve got 30 players, but it’s just about making sure we’re kind of mimicking what the first team is doing and there’s a good continuity between the Youth Academy and the reserve team into the first team," Onalfo said. "Great soccer organizations have really qualified people in positions to make sure that stuff works well."
Onalfo added that much of his role is focused on developing younger players into regular first-team contributors.
Though his career has turned from assistant to head coach back to assistant, Onalfo said he wasn’t thinking about when or if his career would take another turn back to a head coach.
“I’ve had a great four years of head coaching experience and another seven as an assistant, so I just look at it as an opportunity now to be coaching and to be improving each day in my profession,” he said. "What better place to do it than in Southern California?”