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Report: Chelis fired by Chivas USA (Updated)

ElChelis (Getty)


Just two months after getting Chivas USA off to a promising start and taking MLS by storm with his charismatic coaching style, Jose Luis Sanchez Sola appears to be out of a job.

ESPN’s John Sutcliffe reported on Wednesday night via Twitter that the coach known as ‘El Chelis’ has been fired by Chivas USA, with Jose Luis Real expected to take over on an interim basis.

(UPDATED– Chivas USA announced late on Wednesday even that the club had parted ways with Sanchez Sola.)

The departure comes on the same day news emerged of a lawsuit against Chivas USA for discrimination in the firing of youth coaches.

Chelis’ departure shouldn’t come as a complete surprise considering Chivas USA’s free fall in recent weeks. Also, when the team traded star forward Juan Agudelo and Chelis told media that he was not consulted on the trade, it became clear he had seen his power within the club diminished.

Who will Chivas USA turn to next? If Real isn’t a long-term solution, the Goats could turn to former Chivas USA player and Montreal Impact head coach Jesse Marsch, as well as former player Francisco ‘Paco’ Palencia.

What do you think of this development? Surprised to see Chelis fired so soon? Who would you hire if you were in charge of Chivas USA?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I can empathize with Chivas USA since I have followed Metrostars/RB since 1998 with most of those years being garbage in some shape or form.

    I feel for their fans and I can understand they’d want to support a team they can be proud of.

  2. Vergara looks like a clown. But Garber looks like a complete moron by backing this guy, then doing a complete 180° on his thoughts about CUSA. This law suit is not good at all since this will reflect badly on MLS. Wonder if the league will have to fork over some $ since they are a single entity.

  3. Chelis is a hack. As an RSL fan I have had to witness his unprofessional behavior twice this season (yelling at Javi Morales as he was subbed out & then storming off the pitch, leaving before the end of the second match and refusing to acknowledge the RSL coaching staff). Good riddance. His “style” of soccer is really just a cover for poor positioning and tactics.

  4. This team any hope for this team winning a fanbase.

    Mr. Garber just fire the owner from MLS, gives MLS more poorer image, and gives image MLS as a semi-pro league.

  5. It’s pretty clear to most people who watch the soccer biz that the Chivas management is just bidding time til the franchise is sold. By firing the messenger,,,er I mean manager,it is a stopgap to show the fans (what few are left) the media and the players, that the management is doing…something. Unfortunately, this will not win games for Chivas.

    The whole Chivas debacle is the worst case scenario for what could happen when a league does not have a relegation/promotion apparatus. A poor team with poor management, that does nothing to promote soccer in it’s region and is just going through the motions, is relegation bound in any other league. The top tier is for teams who want to be there, who make investments in players, facilities and goodwill to further their brand. Chivas USA has done the exact opposite, and the ownership group will make money when they do sell the franchise, but it’s on the back of all the other clubs and owners who have put real sweat equity and real equity in making the MLS a true top division soccer league. Chivas USA should have been relegated several seasons ago and another deserving lower division team promoted. Instead we have the setup of the MLS actually rewarding a bad franchise, by not only preserving it’s equity, but by actually putting money it their pockets for job poorly done.

    • Sorry but we shouldn’t throw out something that’s been working for almost two decades for what’s now 19 teams because one team had its ownership restructured from functioning to crazy. Keep relegation in the 19th and early 20th centuries where it belongs. The monetary realities of big-time pro sports make it a bad idea to inflict on a new league.

      If we had relegation, the current two-time defending MLS champions would be a second division team after the debacles of 2006-2008. New England would have been relegated long before they made four MLS Cups in the 2000’s. DC United would have been relegated between winning the 1999 and 2004 championships and again before last year’s deep playoff run. The list goes on.

      Keep your pro-rel fantasies away from the frustrating saga of Chivas USA’s suffering fans and batsh*t crazy owners.

  6. terrible; can we fire Chivas USA from MLS! once again they lost the one thing that club had going for it!

    that entire organization has done nothing but destroy themselves! this must be their last year!

    and if they do the right thing and move/re-brand that new team is starting off on the wrong foot with a terrible roster and salary situation that has already lost a few big draft picks over the next few years..

    I hope El Chelis gives another MLS/US club a shot; his time here was too short and he had nothing to work with.

  7. Just sell the team to Beck’s and move it to Orlando. They clearly are a failure and always will be in the shadow of Galaxy. Also that whole politics of all latino players is complete none sense and shouldn’t have place to exist in this country…it aint no Mexico here alright

  8. This firing seems very much like the Death Knell of Chivas USA.

    Chelis was tabbed as the savior but it’s clear, after this move, that a spotlight is shining on the owners as the real culprits (which we knew already). MLS will now wake up.

    Chelis seemed pretty good, but Chivas USA isn’t working and it’s an embarrassment to the league. Time to allow a new market in. Contract to 18 clubs, expand to 20 in 2015.

    • By “MLS” you mean the other owners. I don’t see the other owners putting up the cash to buy Vergara out. Perhaps they’d find a new owner to buy the team but I don’t see the other owners being so desperate as to put up 1/19 of the going rate for a non NY2 MLS franchise.

  9. As much as Chivas USA management is to blame for trying this Latino approach, MLS Leadership is equally to blame. It’s not like it is a frickin suprise. Chivas de Guadalajara requires that anyone in their entire playing structure be Mexican’s. The MLS brought Chivas management into LA trying to appeal to Latinos. Pretty stupid for everyone involved. Sell the team, change the name, bring in the best players they can, regardless of race and move them to a city that wants a team!!

  10. Is Chelis a good manager? You can’t make a judgment from what he was given to work with. He is the fall guy for absolutely stupid movements by management above him. He wasn’t given a lot to begin with and then they traded away Aguadelo for nothing, a couple of injuries, and the team isn’t close to competitive.

  11. Despite the fact I have been dreaming of a MLS team in San Diego, I couldn’t bring myself to support Chivas USA if they moved down here. I don’t like their Latino only policy and I am Latino.

    • Sweet, I lived in OB for 7 years. Now am up in Escondido. No way would I support Chivas if they came down here.

  12. Vergara is hated all over mexico and garber loves him, very sad. Ligamx wants to get rid off him but he loves making money of chivas and his energy health products. He did make chivas a new stadium but increased game tickets over 40% and the stadium was made for the rich to enjoy and not the working class, even the media has told him to walk away from chivas.

    • I doubt that Garber loves Vergara. Remember that Vergara is technically one of Garber’s employers. Therefore, anything that he says in public has to be very parsed and neutral so as not to piss off a part owner in the league.

      We won’t ever know what Garber really thinks about Vergara or this whole Chivas USA fiasco until he’s retired and writes his memoirs. The league can’t unilaterally fire one of its investors. The other owners have to get together and come up with a plan to buy out Vergara, or another owner has to buy the investor/operator license from him.

  13. Chivas USA is such a bad, bad marketing ploy all the way around.
    1. The entire dynamic inherently draws racial/ethnic lines.
    2. If you are a fan of any Mexican team other than Chivas you would never root for them.
    3. Latinos, other than those of Mexican descent (ie – salvdorean, honduran, costa rican, etc), are not going to root for them.
    4. Mainstream Americans are not going to root for them.
    5. If you are someone who roots for the real Chivas de Guadalajara, you will feel that Chivas USA is a cheaper, un-original version.
    6. Oh, and by the way…their workplace practices are discriminatory and illegal in the United States.
    Mr. Vergara – Please sell your franchise, make your profit and leave our league and our country.

  14. I have been a chivas usa season ticket holder since 2005. Chelis started well and struggle as of late. The issue is this San Jose Earthquake have the same coach since 2008 and only 2 play off appearances.Chivas usa does not do this. CHivas usa had fraiser which did not have a style and a lot better players for 2 years he destroyed the team. Why not give Chelis the benefit of doubt and finish the season and then make decisions. I do not understand why they sold agudelo for 75,000 an nothing in return.
    In general know with Vergara in control nothing makes sense.Chelis had a style and Fraiser did not.

  15. I think all the Chivas staff needs to be fired, do an entire cleansing and be done with it. Obviously there is racism and discrimination going on behind closed doors majorly, and the management doesn’t have a sense of player values in this league, shown by their two recent trades. Also, the name needs to be changed of the club, because currently it draws people away.

  16. MLS you made your bed now sleep in it. Or better yet just remove the team and send it too San Antonio whom already have a stadium they can upgrade.

    • Agreed. I went to that stadium 2 weeks ago. It is a great stadium in a good location. The owner has deep pockets.

      • El Paso is/was also taking mls. Thought there was a small chance to bring Chivas USA here. Vegara has a home in el paso and his wife is from juarez.

        Don’t think it’ll happen cuz of local govt and cheap bastards out here.

  17. It was only a matter of time. Chivas USA is a disgrace to our league. Their whole purpose was to snatch up Latino fans…except apparently Latino fans like good teams with their own identity, go figure.. I’m not an Orlando fan, but shame on MLS if they don’t “move” Chivas USA to Orlando (a la fold Chivas USA and allow Orlando entry into the league next year).

    Also this discrimination lawsuit could be a big stain on the club and the league. While one LA team is parading around their new gay player (GP?) another is openly shipping non-Latino coaches and players out. The league cannot permit social/racial targeting! Just play good soccer and run your organization with respect and integrity!

      • Get over yourself. I don’t agree with Kenneth’s comment, but he’s obviously not intending to make a gay slur.

      • Obviously.

        It’s got nothing to do with myself.

        By “parading around’ he apparently means signing and playing a good player. Like Chicago is now “parading around” Magee. Right?

        I just don’t understand any obvious or natural connection between Chivas– which I agree is an unacceptable level of overt racial discrimination — with Rodgers’ singing. He was intending something. Words matter.

  18. I feel bad for the hardcore Chivas USA fans. They deserve much better than this. As fans of other clubs, we can laugh at Chivas’ front office all we want, but these supporters don’t deserve this treatment.

    • We’re talking about a very small group of people here in a relatively young league…they have a much better option in their town.

      • I guess this is a funny thing for people to say, but it’s not true.
        CUSA average attendance:
        2006 19,840
        07 14,305
        08 15,114
        09 15,092
        10 14,575
        In many of those years attendance for CUSA was above many of the beloved franchises of the league, including DC United, Chicago, New York, and Columbus.

      • -Major League Soccer Stats: Team Attendance – 2013-
        (as of May 26th, 2013)

        1 Seattle Sounders FC: 39,066
        2 Montreal Impact: 22,032
        3 Los Angeles: 21,661
        4 Portland Timbers: 20,674
        5 Vancouver Whitecaps: 19,746
        6 Kansas City: 19,420
        7 Toronto FC: 19,119
        8 Houston: 19,098
        9 Real Salt Lake: 18,176
        10 Philadelphia Union: 17,496
        11 New York Red Bulls: 17,166
        12 FC Dallas: 14,897
        13 Colorado: 14,174
        14 DC United: 13,761
        15 Columbus: 12,840
        16 New England: 12,678
        17 Chicago: 12,108
        18 San Jose: 10,409
        19 Chivas USA: 8,045

        …and that’s if you believe those numbers for Chivas USA, which are likely (incredibly) inflated.

        Google the image of Chivas USA’s home-opener. It will literally make you burst into laughter. If you want to burst into tears of laughter…after seeing that image, try to absorb Chivas USA said their attendance was: 7,212 on that day.

        Facts. They’re a funny thing.

      • What stand out is the attendance for the Canadian teams. I think there is a real potential for major expansion in Canada

        . They do not have the major sports franchises and major college sports that we have here in the US. In fact, it would be a good practice to expand the MLS into around 10 Canadian cities, re-brand it as MLS Canada as a separate division or even League and expand 3 more teams into the US without going over 24 teams and incurring more wrath from FIFA.

      • What other seven cities do you see being capable of supporting a franchise in Canada? Can’t be Edmonton. FC Edmonton averaged 1,492 fans last year, while the Edmonton Oil Kings, a junior hockey team, averaged 7,575. You just can’t compete with hockey in Canada. Edmonton would be one of the natural options and it just doesn’t seem capable of supporting a MLS franchise at the moment. It’d be even harder in cities like Saskatoon or Halifax, which you would need to spread out the conference, unless you wanted every team in Ontario, BC and Quebec.

  19. I feel bad for El Chelis, honestly. He was put in a no-win situation by a clownish ownership that seems bent on destroying what little fan base that team once had.
    To me CUSA will always be the Preki teams and players like Marsch, Nagamura, Guzan, Klejstan, and Bornstein.
    Back then fans actually used to show up in decent numbers.
    How Jorge Vergara has destroyed what little fan-base that team once had is a black mark on what otherwise are the best of times for MLS.

      • LOL, yes , for the millionth time. The owner needs to be fired not the coach. The coach was a character and good for the league, the owners not so much they’re the ones that need to be fired via a hostile take over.

    • I haven’t watched Chivas games this year, but I do a lot of the slide falls at Chelis’s feet. After a hot start to the year EVERY scouting report and game-wrap talked about how easy they are to beat with solid wing play because of their narrow defense. Good coaches/teams adapted to their formation/style and exploited their weakness repeatedly. Chelis should have made similar adjustments when it was clear the same thing was causing them to get destroyed week after week.

      • Chelis was screwed by his FO, it’s that simple. he was kept in the dark and probably said F this. and i would have too.

  20. I’m just going to say it, there is a 0% chance they turn to Jesse Marsch, they have gone all in on this Latino thing and he clearly doesnt fit that bill. Hard to feel bad for this franchise, even though they are terrible I just can’t do it.

    • If they fired Chelis because his Spanish wasn’t up to par, I highly doubt they’ll turn to Marsch unless he’s been eat, sleep and drinking Rosetta Stone.

      • Funny you should mention this, Lalas mentioned last night that Chivas hired former Fox Soccer Channel commentator Keith Costigan, who’s Irish, as a replacement for one of their youth coaches terminated/fired or let go.

        Of course, none of that matters if there is proof of discrimination prior to the hiring.

      • except for that part where they got rid of 14 non-hispanic players and only brought in one non-hispanic player. Some might consider that discrimination.

      • Unless you read the list of allegations actually filed with the California judicial system….the lawsuit has nothing to do with the players that were let go………

      • “Which there isn’t any.”

        I’m not a lawyer/not participating in the suit, so I’m not sure how you can confirm one way or the other.

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