(East Los Angeles,CA) [From The Editor’s Desk]: The LAFC has secured the services of Head Coach, Seve Cherundolo in the recent signing of a multi-year contract. This is great news for the Club and its fans as it guarantees the continuity to bolster its top-ranked play in the MLS and other highly distinguished tournaments that it competes in during the course of the regular season. The coach will also have the renewed support of his reputable and seasoned Assistant Coaching staff members as well. Give a good read on the details of the signings and the Coach’s reaction to the deal.
LAFC HEAD COACH STEVE CHERUNDOLO SIGNS CONTRACT EXTENSION
Assistant Coaches Ante Razov, Marc Dos Santos And Oka Nikolov Sign Extensions; LAFC2 Head Coach Enrique Duran joins First Team Coaching Staff
The Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) recently announced that the Club has signed head coach Steve Cherundolo to a multi-year contract extension. Entering his third season at LAFC, Cherundolo’s staff of assistant coaches Ante Razov, Marc dos Santos and Oka Nikolov will also return after signing contract extensions. Enrique Duran, who served as head coach of LAFC2 in 2023, moves to a new role as an assistant coach with the first team.
“In two years with LAFC, Steve has proven to be one of the top coaches in our league,” LAFC Co-President & General Manager John Thorrington said. “When we hired Steve, we were confident that his leadership qualities and unique blend of international and domestic experience would be the perfect fit for LAFC, and he has more than delivered on our high expectations. I am also thrilled to reward the great work of the technical staff and continue to work with Ante, Mark and Oka in 2024 and beyond. We are also excited to have Enrique work with the first team as an assistant coach after contributing so much to this Club as a coach at all levels, including LAFC2 last season.”
Cherundolo, 44, has led LAFC to unprecedented success in his first two seasons at the helm of the Black & Gold, becoming the only manager in league history to win the Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup in his first season as head coach in 2022. He followed that by reaching the final of the Concacaf Champions League and MLS Cup in his second season in 2023 – becoming the only MLS coach to reach both finals in the same calendar year – and just the third coach in MLS history to lead a team to the MLS Cup final in their first two seasons as head coach. Cherundolo led LAFC through an unprecedented 2023 season, coaching an MLS record 53 matches in all competitions.
“I am excited to continue our journey together after two emotional, invigorating and successful years,” LAFC head coach Steve Cherundolo said. “I am proud and grateful to share the sideline again with an incredible coaching staff. I would also like to thank John, his staff and the owners for their tireless work and support for our team. Together with our phenomenal fans, we remain hungry and prepared for more.”
Cherundolo owns a 35-19-14 record in the MLS regular season, and a 6-1-1 record in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
The San Diego native earned the prestigious UEFA Pro License in 2020 after ending a distinguished playing career that saw him become a Bundesliga legend in Germany for Hannover 96, as he appeared in 415 total matches, setting a record for the most appearances by an American for one Club.
One of the most decorated U.S. players of all-time, Cherundolo combines his 15 years of playing experience in Germany’s Bundesliga, as well as a diverse coaching portfolio that includes time as a Bundesliga first-team assistant, youth head coach and a position in the German National Team youth development program to create a unique formula for success in Los Angeles.
A 2021 U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame inductee, Cherundolo made 87 appearances for the U.S. National Team, including becoming one of 11 players in U.S. history to be named to three
World Cup rosters (2002, 2006, 2010). Cherundolo played every minute at right back for the U.S. in the 2010 World Cup.
Ante Razov enters his seventh season as a member of the LAFC coaching staff in 2024. Razov owns a U.S. Soccer Pro License and began his first team coaching career as an assistant with Seattle (2015-16), helping guide the Sounders to the 2016 MLS Cup before joining the Galaxy (2017) as an assistant coach. Before joining the Sounders staff, Razov served as a head coach in the Galaxy Youth Academy. Razov ended a decorated 14-year MLS playing career as the seventh all-time leading scorer in league history with 114 career goals. The Southern California native won the 1998 MLS Cup with the Chicago Fire as well as three Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cups. He was a member of the MLS Best XI in 2003 and made 25 appearances and scored six goals for the U.S. National Team.
Marc Dos Santos is now set to begin his fourth season as an assistant coach with LAFC in 2024. Dos Santos was a member of the inaugural LAFC technical staff in 2018 and returned to LAFC after more than two years serving as the head coach of the Vancouver Whitecaps (2019-2021), where he compiled a 22-37-18 record. Prior to becoming a coach in MLS, he was the North America Soccer League (NASL) Manager of the year in 2015 and 2017 and led the San Francisco Deltas to the 2017 NASL Championship. The Montreal native also had success at multiple coaching stops in Canada including Trois-Rivieres Attak FC (2007-2008), and the Montreal Impact (2009-2011) and Ottawa Fury FC (2014). He led the Impact to the inaugural Canadian Championship, the Voyageurs Cup and a berth in the 2008-2009 Concacaf Champions League, as well as the USL First Division title in 2009. Dos Santos has also coached FC Primeira Camisa (U-20’s) and SE Palmeiras (U-15’s) in Brazil and was the first manager of the USL’s Swope Park Rangers.
Oka Nikolov enters his third year with LAFC as an Assistant Coach and the Head of Goalkeeping. Nikolov brings eight years of MLS coaching experience to LAFC, after serving as the goalkeeper coach for the Philadelphia Union (2016-17 and 2019-2020), Galaxy (2018) and D.C. United (2021). Nikolov was also the goalkeeper coach for Germany’s U-19 squad and Macedonia’s National Team in 2014 and 2015. The German-born Macedonia International spent the majority of his 22-year professional career tending goal for Germany’s Eintracht Frankfurt. Originally joining the club at the age of 17, Nikolov made 414 appearances across all competitions for the Eagles including 229 appearances over 19 years in the Bundesliga. Internationally, Nikolov appeared in five games for Macedonia.
Enrique Duran will join the LAFC first team coaching staff in 2024 after serving in 2023 as the first coach for LAFC2 in its inaugural season in MLS NEXT Pro. Duran originally joined LAFC in 2017 as the Director of Coaching and has since been instrumental in developing LAFC Academy’s training methodology and is responsible for the continued development of all Academy coaching Staff. Duran served as an assistant coach with the Las Vegas Lights, LAFC’s former USL affiliate, under Cherundolo in 2021 and was named the head coach of the Lights in 2022, where he led the team to the best season in club history.
A native of Cataluña, Spain, Duran holds a UEFA ‘A’ License and brings extensive experience in youth player development from around the globe, having coached with FC Barcelona as part for FCBEscola from 2005-1011, serving as the U-10 and U-12 youth in Barcelona, as the Technical Director in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and as the International Projects Coordinator in Europe and Asia. Following his departure from FCBEscola, Duran joined Cryuff Football as the technical director of the Mamelodi Sundowns F.C. in South Africa from 2011-2015, then worked with Cruyff Football as the Project manager from 2015-2017.
LAFC has begun the process of identifying a new Head Coach for its MLS NEXT Pro team, LAFC2.