LOS ANGELES -- Since its inception, Los Angeles FC have made no secret of their ambitions, boasting a star-studded ownership group, the soon-to-be most expensive stadium in the league, and swag already ubiquitous enough around the city to make Black & Gold genuine competition for Dodger Blue and Laker Purple.
And like the teams that wear those other colors, the ultimate aim has always been to make the club recognized worldwide, a journey that began with the LAFC's head coaching search, said executive vice president of soccer operations and general manager John Thorrington. That search ended Thursday with the hiring of former US national team coach Bob Bradley.
“When I got this job, I knew [the LAFC head coach position] was sought after, but I was still blown away by not just the quantity of candidates but the quality of candidates,” Thorrington told reporters after Friday's press conference announcing the hire of Bob Bradley. “I’m talking global, domestic, everything. Every name you could possibly imagine was interested in this job.”
Though he wouldn’t share details about the specifics of the hiring process, Thorrington insisted Bradley was “always top of mind” when the process began 18 months ago, long before Bradley lost his job managing English Premier League side Swansea City last December. The two have known each other for over a decade, with Bradley having coached Thorrington during his tenure leading the US.
“[Bradley’s] like John Thorrington,” LAFC President Tom Penn said. "Half of John’s career was in Europe and half of John’s career was in America. Bob is similar and that really matters when you’re trying to be a global club. They’ve each spent an appreciable amount of time overseas in global football and back here in the MLS.”
Thorrington played in Germany and England before joining the Chicago Fire in 2005. Bradley started in MLS and, after his stint at the helm of the US, coached in Egypt, Norway, and France before the Swansea City job.
The hope is that pedigree can help LAFC grow its name in similarly diverse environs.
“I definitely think it's possible,” said Jimmy Lopez of LAFC’s Black Army supporters' group. “If anyone can do it, [Bradley’s] the one to pull the task off.”
And if Bradley and Thorrington succeed?
“It benefits the entire MLS,” Lopez says. “Not just LAFC.”