Chivas' soccer-ops VP steps down

Stephen Hamilton, Chivas USA's highest-ranking executive on the soccer side of the organization, abruptly resigned Thursday, seemingly leaving the Major League Soccer club in turmoil.

Hamilton, whose title was vice president for soccer operations, is the third major Chivas figure to step down or be fired since the club finished in October its worst season since its inaugural season. The club also is searching for a new head coach and president.

Hamilton, who attended the NCAA College Cup with Chivas USA coaches last weekend at UC Santa Barbara, was the club's chief figure in assessing and acquiring players and was working with ownership to find a replacement for Martin Vasquez, who was dismissed Oct. 27 as coach after refusing to allow one of his assistants to be reassigned within the organization. A source close to the club says there are three finalists for the post, and Hamilton had said the Goats hoped to make a decision by Christmas.

Club president Shawn Hunter resigned Nov. 2 so he could spend more time with his family, which lives in Denver.

Hamilton, who was not available for comment, will continue working with Chivas USA in an advisory role. Club adviser Jose L. Domene becomes interim general manager and will work with the committee looking to hire a head coach and prepare for next season.

Hamilton's brother, Doug, was the Galaxy's general manager in 2002-06. He died in March 2006 from a heart attack on a flight home from Costa Rica after L.A. was eliminated by Saprissa in the CONCACAF Champions Cup.