ExtraTime Radio Podcast
LISTEN to our lengthy one-v-one interview with LAFC executive vice president of soccer operations John Thorrington (22:40).
LOS ANGELES – Friday was crunch time for 22 MLS clubs. The 23rd team didn’t have the same kind of pressure, however.
LAFC was a “home” team of sorts at the 2017 MLS SuperDraft alongside the LA Galaxy. Of course, the expansion club will not field a team nor enter MLS play until 2018, which meant their draft experience was far from the pressure-packed environment that the rest of the league endured.
“It’s like a dress rehearsal, and I did it last year, and it felt a bit in the distance, but this year it definitely feels different,” LAFC executive vice president of soccer operations John Thorrington told MLSsoccer.com at the SuperDraft. “The dynamics of our conversations, our scouting when we’re looking at players, some people say that we still have a year, but we feel the urgency and understand that this year will go by quicker than last year, which a lot happened and it moved very quickly.”
Thorrington has been busy launching LAFC’s academy, forging a partnership with local USL side Orange County Blues, and sifting through candidates for both the head coaching position and first-team roster, but he said the team will have news “shortly” regarding growth in the soccer operations team to handle first-team duties on a day-to-day basis.
He also confirmed LAFC are able to sign players at any time moving forward, but that they are still working on the timing, and whether they will sign prospects to play for the Blues in USL for the 2017 season first, or if a marquee, big-name signing will lead the way.
“I think it’s just going to be a function of when these targets are available,” he said. “And we sort of see it as separate – every player we sign is with the intent of making our MLS team, but there’s a slight difference when we’re taking a player with potential of getting into MLS versus a player that is readymade and fits what we want to do at the first-team level right now. So we separate the two in that way but we’re active in conversations on both fronts.”
And there is the question of LAFC’s first head coach. Thorrington noted that the team’s shortlist includes several candidates, but two men who have repeatedly been mooted in the press as candidates are Bob Bradley and Sigi Schmid. Thorrington said both coaches are people for whom he has “great respect,” but he did not explicitly name either as a candidate at this stage.
“I know both of them well and can very much understand that it’s why people are connecting those dots and [I have] a great deal of respect for what both of them have done throughout their careers,” he said.
Another personal connection for Thorrington comes with the OC Blues’ new head coach, Logan Pause, whose appointment was announced on Thursday. The duo played together for the Chicago Fire from 2005-10. Initial reports claimed Pause would be Blues head coach and then become an LAFC assistant coach starting next season, but Thorrington clarified the appointment was to “just operate as an OC Blues member of staff.”