A Galaxy spokesperson confirmed Wednesday that the team is nearing a deal that would make Dennis Te Kloese the team’s chief of soccer operations. The team has been talking with Te Kloese, a former Chivas USA executive and currently the director of national teams for the Mexican soccer federation, for weeks.
The closeness of a deal was first reported by MLS writer Sam Stejskal, who also said Te Kloese had met with Dominic Kinnear, the Galaxy’s interim coach, about remaining in that job permanently.
Sources close to the Galaxy said the team first offered the job to Te Kloese three weeks ago when it fired Pete Vagenas as its vice president of soccer operations. But Te Kloese demurred, telling The Times last week he “first [had] to get my head around some things at the FMF. I have been working there since 2011 and will need a couple of weeks to see where we stand.”
Galaxy president Chris Klein said he had hoped to have a soccer operations person in place before beginning a busy offseason that started last Monday when the team made decisions on contract options for a dozen players. Kinnear was heavily involved in those decisions, according to a club source.
The hiring of Te Kloese and the appointment of Kinnear as head coach would allow the team to turn its focus to another pressing issue, the status of leading scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Swedish star, who is signed for next season, has made it known that he is unhappy with the Galaxy’s direction and his return wasn’t certain if he didn’t think the team could win. His agent has also been negotiating with Italian club AC Milan, partly in an effort to keep the pressure on the Galaxy.
Ibrahimovic has publicly backed Kinnear, who took over as coach in September and nearly got the team into the playoffs, saying he deserved to be considered for the job full time.
Te Kloese, a Dutch native, played on youth national teams in the Netherlands before moving to Mexico, where he worked as scouting director for Chivas de Guadalajara. He served in a similar role with Chivas’ MLS affiliate from 2005-2008 before returning to Mexico and positions with Tigres and Chivas and two stints with the Mexican soccer federation.