LAFC names ex-USMNT star Steve Cherundolo as manager

LAFC has hired former United States men's international defender Steve Cherundolo to be its next manager, the Major League Soccer side announced on Monday.

Cherundolo replaces Bob Bradley, who parted ways with LAFC after his contract expired following the conclusion of the 2021 season. Bradley ultimately moved to take over at Toronto FC.

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The appointment concludes a long apprenticeship for Cherundolo, 42, who is being promoted from within after managing USL Championship side the Las Vegas Lights last season. The team was an LAFC affiliate, serving as the Black-and-Gold's reserve side, and given the heavy focus on player development, the Lights finished last in the USL's Pacific Division with a record of 6-23-3.

Prior to joining the LAFC organization in early 2021, Cherundolo spent several years in a variety of roles, including assistant coaching positions with the reserve and first teams of Hannover 96, as well as similar positions with VfB Stuttgart, the U.S. men's national team and Germany's U-15 team. He also served as the head coach of Hannover's U-15 and U-17 teams.

Cherundolo's coaching stints with Hannover, spanning four years, came after 15-year career as a player with the club. He was dubbed the Mayor of Hannover after making more than 400 first-team appearances.

The right back was also a mainstay with the U.S. men's national team, making 87 appearances and scoring two goals. He saw the field in both the 2006 and 2010 World Cups.

Cherundolo takes over a side in transition. While LAFC exercised the option on forward Carlos Vela, that will only last through June, leaving the former Mexico international with the option of moving elsewhere. Midfield hub Eduard Atuesta has been transferred to Brazilian Serie A side Palmeiras. Diego Rossi is expected to make his loan move to Turkish side Fenerbahce permanent.

But Cherundolo will have Colombian playmaker Cristian Arango, who scored 14 goals and added two assists after arriving in midseason, at his disposal.