Los Angeles FC and the Las Vegas Lights have launched a promising new partnership, and have turned to a very familiar name in American soccer circles to help get it off the ground.
The Lights have been announced as LAFC’s new USL affiliate starting this season, and have named former U.S. men’s national team defender Steve Cherundolo as the new Lights head coach.
Cherundolo will be a head coach for the first time, having recently been an assistant for the Germany Under-15 national team. Prior to that, Cherundolo spent time with Hannover 96 and Stuttgart in Germany, where he spent the entirety of his professional playing career.
“My experiences as a coach and player over the past 22 years in Germany and with the U.S. Men’s National Team have provided me with the necessary tools to help further this fascinating endeavor,” Cherundolo said. “Helping players and teams maximize their potential is a process I take great pride and joy in, and I can’t wait to get started.”
Cherundolo also cited his relationship with LAFC head coach Bob Bradley, his former coach with the USMNT, and LAFC’s Co-President and General Manager John Thorrington, a former USMNT teammate of Cherundolo’s.
The new partnership will allow LAFC to establish another step in the process for its players to take from the team’s academy setup to the first team. LAFC will be able to send top prospects such as Bryce Duke or Antonio Leone to earn professional minutes that would otherwise be hard to come by with an elite MLS team like LAFC.
The new partnership makes LAFC the 19th MLS team to have an affiliation with either a USL Championship or League 1 team.