CARSON, Calif. — For new Chivas USA head coach José Luis “Guero” Real, the opportunity was too appealing to pass up.
Real shot down reports claiming he was forced into taking the job following the firing of José Luis “El Chelís” Sánchez Solá, saying Thursday during his introductory press conference that the choice was his own. Real said he turned down multiple job offers, including from Mexican side Atlas, to pursue lifelong aspirations to coach abroad.
“Anytime there’s an opportunity to make history, I sign up,” Real told reporters. “Nobody can erase history. At this moment, Chivas is in the midst of an integrative project. I’m not here to just coach the club for personal gain; I’m going to do everything so that this team has success.
“I’m also here on behalf of the institution, which has been different from the past. I don’t doubt that important people have passed through Chivas USA and that there’s been positive things, but I’m here to offer and install the system from Chivas Guadalajara.”
Sporting president Dennis te Kloese and director of soccer Juan Francisco Palencia were on hand to officially welcome Real, who coached Guadalajara from 2009 to 2011 in 71 Mexican league matches, to his post.
“To be relevant, you’ve got to have someone significant here,” te Kloese said.
In 2010, Real set Chivas’ record for most consecutive wins in the first stages of the tournament with eight victories and later reached a Copa Libertadores final.
Real will direct Chivas USA, who have not won an MLS match since March 30, for the first time next week when they travel to Vancouver. The Goats (3-8-2) have been outscored 24-6 over their previous 10 matches, including two in the US Open Cup tournament, and have yet to record a shutout this season.
They sit in last place in the Western Conference standings, having accumulated only 11 points in 13 matches.
“Believe me, this is the most important challenge of my career,” Real said. “It’s been seen as something convenient for the organization and not for me. If I wanted to be a head coach for another first-division team, I could have done it two weeks ago. But I don’t want that. I want to work for this project.
"I’m happy to be here and know there are plenty of people that don’t believe. I’m aware of that. For that same reason, my decision to come here was based on knowing we can achieve our goal. The challenge motivates me.”
Te Kloese said there have not been discussions regarding the length of Real’s stay, but didn’t rule out his return next year.
“The initial step is to finish the season and look to do as good as we can, obviously,” te Kloese said. “We’re looking forward to having positive results and then we’ll evaluate it at the end of the season. We’re very happy for José Luis to commit himself until the end of the year.”