The Galaxy have chosen Dennis Te Kloese, a former Chivas USA executive and director of national teams for the Mexican soccer federation, to fill its recently re-created position of general manager.
The team declined to comment Thursday, but Te Kloese, who has already begun working with the Galaxy, is expected to meet with supporter groups on Monday ahead of a formal announcement of his hiring, which would be made early next week.
Te Kloese, 44, will be in charge of all soccer-related decisions with the Galaxy, beginning with the hiring of a permanent coach. Dominic Kinnear, a two-time MLS champion with the Houston Dynamo, has been the team’s interim coach since Sigi Schmid was fired in September and is the only person the team has publicly identified as a candidate for the full-time job.
Gregg Berhalter, recently hired by the U.S. national team, and Caleb Porter, who led the Portland Timbers to an MLS title in 2015, have reportedly been considered for the position as well. Porter and Galaxy president Chris Klein were college roommates at Indiana.
The Galaxy have struggled for direction since 2016, when Bruce Arena, who led the team to eight playoff appearances and three MLS Cup titles in eight full seasons as coach and general manager, stepped down to take over the national team.
The team went a franchise-worst 8-18-8 under Curt Onalfo and Schmid in 2017, then narrowly missed the playoffs this season, going 13-12-9 under Schmid and Kinnear.
The two-year postseason drought, the team’s longest in a decade, cost Pete Vagenas, vice president for soccer operations, his job last month. Klein has promised a detailed review of the remaining front-office personnel, saying the team lacks a structure “both internally and externally” that would help guide the decisions.
Defining that now falls to Te Kloese.
“What you’re seeing in our league and in other leagues is assembling a group of talented people to tackle this as a team. We need to do that,” Klein said last month. “And it’s not just a GM or a coach. It extends through our scouting and certainly beyond with development and things like that.
“We have a number of things to do.”
At the top of the to-do list, just behind finding a coach, is finding a way to keep Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who led the team with 22 goals and tied for the lead with 10 assists in his first season in MLS. Ibrahimovic is signed for next season but is deserving of a raise from the $1.5 million he made in 2018, something the Galaxy may not be able to deliver without trading or buying out one of its three designated players, Romain Alessandrini and brothers Gio and Jonathan dos Santos.
Ibrahimovic’s agent, Mino Raiola, has been talking to Italian club A.C. Milan and the Galaxy has indicated it would not block a move if Ibrahimovic wants to leave. Ibrahimovic’s only public demand is that the Galaxy restructure themselves to make the team an MLS Cup contender next season, something the hiring of Te Kloese is intended to do.
Born in the Netherlands, Te Kloese played for Dutch age-group national teams and is well-regarded for his success in youth development, an important consideration for the Galaxy, who have invested heavily in its deep player-development program.
Te Kloese resettled in Mexico in 2003, where he worked first as scouting director for Chivas of Guadalajara. He was academy director for Tigres and briefly worked as sporting director for Chivas sandwiched around two stints with the Mexican federation.