KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Kansas City Wizards announced Monday the hiring of the team's third head coach, Curt Onalfo. Most recently an assistant for the U.S. Men's National Team during the 2006 World Cup, Onalfo has coaching and playing experience at every level from youth soccer to world-class competitions. This will be his first professional head coaching job.
"After evaluating every facet of the team and interviewing several top-notch candidates, Curt Onalfo stood out. He is an excellent evaluator of talent, a tremendous communicator and has outstanding organizational skills," Technical Director Peter Vermes said.
Well-respected throughout the soccer community, Onalfo came to the Wizards highly recommended.
"Our research concluded that Curt Onalfo is considered by many as one of the brightest young minds in U.S. Soccer. Having spent time with him throughout the process, he's an even better family man and a perfect fit for our club and the Kansas City community," Team President Robb Heineman said. "After a lengthy and dutiful search, we are confident that Curt is the right choice for the Wizards and we are anxious for him to get started."
One of his main goals aside from getting back to championship-caliber soccer is creating a home environment that gives the Wizards a decided advantage on the field. Onalfo believes that Kansas City fans will be eager to get behind his squad once they see the hard work being displayed by players, coaches and front office officials.
"This team will play an aggressive, attack-oriented style and it will be fun to watch," Onalfo said. "The key is to not change who we are, whether we play at home or on the road. We will be hard to play at home and we need our fans to help ensure this."
Onalfo's scouting past has lead him to develop an eye for seizing up the opposition.
"One of my strengths is the ability to tactically see the game; to exploit an opponent's weakness," Onalfo said. "My job with the U.S. National Team was to scout who we played."
Noted for his communication skills, Onalfo believes he is prepared for all aspects of the job.
"I am also a strong manager of people," Onalfo said. "Managing players at this level is one of the most important facets."
Wizards midfielder Kerry Zavagnin has seen this in his experiences with Onalfo in the past.
"This is just another smart and aggressive move by the new ownership group and Technical Director Peter Vermes," Zavagnin said. "Onalfo is up front and honest with the team's best interest in mind. Last year is behind us and I know I am looking forward to the 2007 preseason already."
Born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Onalfo has since traveled the soccer world playing professionally in France, Mexico and the United States and for the U.S. National team in Olympic and U-20 competition. A perpetual leader on the field, Onalfo co-captained the U.S. squad in the 1989 U-20 World Championships and the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
At Ridgefield High in Ridgefield, Connecticut, Onalfo played on two state championship teams. He also won two conference titles and helped the Tigers reach the state finals during his senior season when he scored 28 goals.
He then headed to rising soccer power Virginia, where he first teamed with coach Bruce Arena. The Cavaliers shared the NCAA title with Santa Clara in 1989, battling to a 1-1 tie after sudden-death overtime. Onalfo, a central defender, earned All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors as a junior and senior.
In addition to his distinguished playing career, Onalfo's coaching experience at the highest levels of competition make him the choice for the Wizards. Onalfo has lead teams in MLS play and Olympic, Gold Cup and World Cup competition as an assistant.
1998-99 D.C. United (MLS) MLS Cup Champions 1999, Concacaf Cup Champions 1998, InterAmerica Cup Champions 1998, Runner-up MLS 1998
1997 San Jose Clash (MLS)
1996 LA Galaxy (MLS) Runner-up MLS 1996
1995-1996 Tampico F.C., Mexico
1994-1995 CT. Wolves (A-League)
1991-1992 F.C. La Ciotat, France
US National Teams
1992 U.S. Olympic Soccer Team Co-Captain in Barcelona, Spain
1989 U20 World Cup 4th Place finish Co-Captain in Saudi Arabia
1987-1992 Played Over 100 games (caps) for U.S. Olympic, U-20, and National Teams
College & High School
1990 Herman Trophy candidate
1989 University of Virginia NCAA National CO- Champion
1989 Soccer America All-American (Best 11)
1987 High School All-American
2003 - Present Assistant Coach US Men's National Team
2002 Assistant Coach, D.C. United of Major League Soccer
2001 Interim Head Coach, D.C. United of Major League Soccer (Oct/Nov/Dec)
2001 Assistant Coach, D.C. United of Major League Soccer
2000 Assistant Coach, D.C. United of Major League Soccer (Hired in Nov.)
2000-2002 Director of Youth Development DC United
1992-2001 Trainer and Coach of various youth teams in Ridgefield, CT and McLean, VA
1985-Present Curt Onalfo Soccer/S.C.O.R. Soccer Camps
2003 National A License - USSF
1999 National B License - USSF
1999 National Youth License -USSF
OTHER SOCCER VENTURES:
1998-Present: President and CEO of Curt Onalfo Soccer, Inc
Curt Onalfo Soccer, Inc. (COS, Inc.) was established as a one-man operation in McLean, Va., in 1998 with the goal of "building self-esteem through soccer." For the past nine years COS, Inc. has consistently grown and now contracts more than 50 coaches, trainers and operational personnel, providing high-quality training to more than 5,000 Northern Virginia families annually. COS, Inc. programs include indoor and outdoor individual, small-group, team, coach, goalkeeper and club training. This past summer more than 1,000 children from McLean, Reston, Sterling, Leesburg, Chantilly, Fairfax, Springfield, Arlington, and as far away as Gaithersburg, Md. participated in COS summer programs. From December through March, another 800-1,000 children will participate in the Eighth annual COS Winter Program at three area Sport and Health Clubs. COS, Inc. also provides coach and player training for three of the areas most popular soccer clubs, McLean Youth Soccer, Vienna Youth Soccer and Arlington Soccer Club.
1999-Present: Technical Director of McLean Youth Soccer (MYS)
McLean Youth Soccer has more than 3000 players and 200 coaches. Responsibilities include writing curriculum, running coach clinics, selection of coaches, creating and implementing year round training programs for players and coaches of all levels and lastly managing McLean Premier Soccer (Elite Teams) which has more than 40 coaches. Since being named TD of MYS in 1999, MYS has increased its membership each year, produced many state championship teams and has sent several players for selection to our youth national teams with most recently the appointment of an MYS player to the USA U-17 residency program in Bradenton, FL this past year.
Onalfo was born November 19, 1969 in Sao Paulo, Brazil but relocated to Ridgefield, CT. His hometown is Herndon, VA. He is married to wife Sandra and they have two children, Christian (9) and Gabriela (5). He speaks fluent Spanish.
"Our research concluded that Curt Onalfo is considered by many as one of the brightest young minds in U.S. Soccer. Having spent time with him throughout the process, he's an even better family man and a perfect fit for our club and the Kansas City community. After a lengthy and dutiful search, we are confident that Curt is the right choice for the Wizards and we are anxious for him to get started."
-Team President Robb Heineman
"After evaluating every facet of the team and interviewing several top-notch candidates, Curt Onalfo stood out. He is an excellent evaluator of talent, a tremendous communicator and has outstanding organizational skills. Curt sees the game tactically unbelievably well and does nothing to compromise his beliefs on the field. His honesty and integrity will help lead this team. He came after this job with everything he had because this was the one job he wanted. He was very aggressive with his approach but also extremely respectful of the process. Curt made it clear from the beginning how much he wanted to coach the Kansas City Wizards and he has the same goal in mind we (Vermes and the ownership group) do, which is to not only be MLS Champions, but also to have the premiere organization in sports."
-Kansas City Wizards Technical Director Peter Vermes
"Curt (Onalfo) is one of the brightest young coaches in the country. He made an outstanding contribution to the U.S. National Team. I look forward to him building a strong team in Kansas City and to competing against him in the coming years."
- Former U.S. National Team and current New York Red Bulls Head Coach Bruce Arena
"Curt Onalfo is an up-and-coming coach and I was fortunate to have spent time with him while with the U.S. National team. He was an assistant for a long time, just waiting to get his shot. Now he's got it and the team is excited to be under his regime. We are in this altogether and we are ready to take on the challenges that lay ahead."
-Kansas City Wizards and U.S. National Team defender Jimmy Conrad
"This is a great move by the Wizards organization. Our team is headed in a new direction, which is to take our club back to an MLS Championship caliber team. This is just another smart and aggressive move by the new ownership group and technical director Peter Vermes. I respect Curt immensely from my dealings with him and the U.S. National Team. He is up front and honest with the team's best interest in mind. Last year is behind us and I know I am looking forward to the 2007 preseason already."
-Kansas City Wizards midfielder Kerry Zavagnin
Head Coach Curt Onalfo Quotes:
On being hired as the Head Coach for the Kansas City Wizards
"I am both honored and thankful for this opportunity, but I am also prepared. I want to echo what OnGoal stated at the very beginning of the interview process, which is the fact that they want to build a world-class organization. I, too, strive to create an organization that everyone wants to be a part of and that was the big reason I went after this position so strongly. It felt great to see how serious the owners are with their long-term vision and the soccer-specific stadium. This ownership group is exceptional and the Peter Vermes as Technical Director hire was first-rate. I know we will work well together."
On his style of coaching
"This team will play an aggressive, attack-oriented style and it will be fun to watch. The key is to not change who we are, whether we play at home or on the road. We will be hard to play at home and we need our fans to help ensure this. We will not change when we play away, as we still plan to attack."
On his influences and strengths
"You always want to learn and I have taken a lot from many coaches as both a player and as an assistant for the past seven years, but in the process have developed my own approach. Some of my strengths are the ability to tactically see the game; to exploit an opponent's weakness. My job with the U.S. National Team was to scout who we played. I am also a strong manager of people. Managing players at this level is one of the most important facets."