and only footballer to have played for the national teams of the United States and Mexico -- will collaborate with Javier "Zully" Ledesma as assistant to Thomas Rongen, who coached Vásquez on the Eastern Conference Champion Tampa Bay Mutiny team of 1996.
"It's an honor for me to be named assistant coach of Chivas USA alongside Javier Ledesma", said Vásquez. "I was a player for Thomas Rongen in Tampa Bay, where despite all of us being from different countries we managed to play, in many peoples' minds, the best football in that first year of MLS. With this project, I now feel the same way: enthusiastic and looking forward to gaining even more fans with the excellent soccer that Chivas USA is going to play this season."
CD Chivas USA's coaching staff now comprises three individuals with vast playing and coaching experience in both U.S. and Mexican soccer: the Dutch-born Rongen, a former championship-winning coach in MLS and successful head coach of the U.S. under-20 national team; Guadalajara native Ledesma, who came up through the ranks of Chivas Guadalajara to win the title in 1987 as starting goalkeeper before coaching Chivas' youth teams; and now Martín Vásquez.
"When Martín played for me in Tampa Bay, I was impressed by his eye for the game and always thought he would make an excellent coach," said Rongen. "He has experience in MLS, knows what it means to be a player in this league and really represents the kind of player we want to have in our ranks. Along with Zully and myself, I think we make for an excellent blend of knowledge and experience."
"Our institution understands and celebrates the Mexican player in the United States, and who better to contribute to this project than Martín Vásquez," said Whit Haskel, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Club Deportivo Chivas USA. "Martín was born in Jalisco, came of age as a player in Southern California, and has a tremendous rapport with the local soccer community. With his addition, we now have a multilingual and multinational coaching staff - unique in professional soccer in the United States."
The 41-year-old Vásquez joins the Chivas USA team after one season as assistant coach with the Los Angeles Galaxy, where he was worked under Sigi Schmid and Steve Sampson, the Galaxy's two head coaches during the 2004 season. Vásquez' coaching experience includes two seasons as assistant with the San Diego Spirit (2001-2002) of the defunct Women's United Soccer Association, and two years as assistant at Cal Poly - Pomona (1999-2000).
The native of Yahualica, Jalisco, moved to the Los Angeles area at the age of 12 and began his playing career in local leagues in Southern California. After three seasons as a collegiate player at Cal State - Los Angeles (1980-1983), he returned to his homeland to make his professional debut with the Second Division team of Mexican club Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara.
Following a five-year stint as a professional indoor and outdoor player in the U.S. during the mid-1980s, the defender-midfielder debuted in Mexico's First Division with Universidad de Guadalajara (1988-1990), before moving on to Puebla (1990-91), Veracruz (1991-92) and Atlas (1992- 1996). In 1991 and 1992, he played 10 games with the Mexican national team under coaches César Luis Menotti and Manuel Lapuente. In 1996, he returned to the United States, where he gained U.S. citizenship and played for the Tampa Bay Mutiny (1996-1997) and the San Jose Clash (1998). In 1996 and 1997, Vásquez played seven matches, all as a starter, in the midfield of Steve Sampson's U.S. national team.