Frank Yallop resigned as coach of Major League Soccer’s Galaxy on Sunday evening, scant hours before the team was due to leave for Vancouver and the first of four games on postseason tours of Canada, the U.S., Australia and New Zealand.
Yallop this week is expected to be named coach of the San Jose Earthquakes, the team he led to MLS titles in 2001 and 2003 before leaving to coach the Canadian national team.
He told the Galaxy players of his decision in a locker room meeting after Sunday afternoon’s charity exhibition match against Hollywood United at the Home Depot Center. The players were surprised by Yallop’s timing but not by his decision, Landon Donovan said in a telephone interview Sunday night.
“I like Frank as a person and I think he’s a great coach,” said Donovan, who starred on San Jose’s 2001 and 2003 championship teams. “The unfortunate part is, he hasn’t been allowed to show what a good coach he is this year.
“He’s not been able to be himself. He’s had people in his ear telling him what to do, and he’s not been able to just get on with it. When he finally was left alone, we went on a seven-game unbeaten streak.
“I don’t think anyone wants to work in those circumstances.”
Reached late Sunday, Alexi Lalas, the Galaxy’s president and general manager, said the team would have no comment on the matter until this afternoon.
Yallop was not available for comment Sunday.
Donovan said he expected Trevor James, the Galaxy’s assistant coach, or Paul Bravo, the team’s director of soccer, to accompany the team to Canada for Wednesday night’s game against the Vancouver Whitecaps, for which more than 40,000 tickets have been sold -- David Beckham being the draw.
Beckham said Sunday that although the players were disappointed by Yallop’s departure, they understood the reasons behind his decision.
“We felt that he’s the right man, that he’s a good manager,” Beckham said. “But he’s not walking away. He’s looking after himself, he’s looking after his family.”
In his 17 months in charge of the Galaxy, Yallop, 43, compiled an 18-21-12 record. The team failed to reach the playoffs in 2006 and 2007, the current season having been thrown into turmoil by Beckham’s arrival and a spate of injuries to key players, Beckham included.