Wednesday, December 15, 2010
CHIVAS USA: A 'new beginning' with an old president
By Scott French
So much is changing in the wake of Chivas USA's worst season since its horrid start in 2005 that's it simple to think the club is making a new start.
Antonio Cue, the Goats' managing partner, doesn't disagree.
"I do think things are happening and changing," Cue (pronounced "quay") said Wednesday. "We're very excited about it. It's a great opportunity to do a lot of things we want to do. It is kind of a new beginning, for sure."
And so Cue is reaching back to the club's beginnings. He has resumed his former position as club president, a job he held until Shawn Hunter was brought aboard in September 2007, and says he he has no plans to relinquish the title.
So: One vacancy filled and two to go.
The club ostensibly had been looking for a new president since Hunter stepped down last month, and there remains openings for a head coach and, following vice president of soccer operations Stephen Hamilton's resignation Tuesday, for a general manager on the technical side.
Hamilton, who will continue to work with the club for "the next couple months" as an adviser, said Wednesday that he had "a couple of things I'm looking at" within the soccer world and that this "seemed like the right time for me" to step down.
"For me, personally," he said, "it felt like the right time to go in a different direction."
He and Hunter have said it was their decision to depart, and nobody at Chivas has suggested otherwise, but it's hardly rare to see a club clean house after a last-place finish. The Goats were 8-18-4, the worst mark in the Western Conference and 15th of 16 in MLS. Only D.C. United (6-20-4) had a worse record.
Jose L. Domene, a club adviser the past 18 months, has been appointed interim general manager, and Cue said it was possible the "interim" could be removed from his title.
"We're evaluating a lot of things," Cue said. "We know that Jose has the qualities to be [general manager], and we're working to see if it will be a permanent role or not. As of now, we're in a transitional period."
The Goats have been in transitional mode on the field the past year, and especially since coach Martin Vasquez was dismissed in late October. Cue confirmed there are three finalists for the coaching slot and said the hope was that a hire would be made before the new year.
Asked if there was a possibility a coach also might become general manager, and assert full control over the club's soccer side -- as Bruce Arena does with the Galaxy -- Cue was blunt: "No."
Some potential coaching candidates -- former U.S. national team and Galaxy coach Steve Sampson, for one -- backed away from the post over control issues.
A head coach, Cue said, "would definitely be part of the committee, but decisions are taken by the general manager and the committee."