The LA Galaxy have named Pete Vagenas as the team's new general manager, while the search for a new head coach is ongoing.
Both positions have been vacant since Bruce Arena, who held both jobs, left the Galaxy last week to become manager of the U.S. men's national team.
Vagenas, a native of nearby Pasadena, was a player with the Galaxy from 2000-08, a period in which he served as team captain, and also won two MLS Cups. He later played for the Seattle Sounders and Chivas USA.
The 39-year-old also made three appearances for the U.S. national team. After his playing career ended in 2012, Vagenas worked for the Galaxy as director of the club's academy, and more recently as vice president of soccer operations under Arena.
Speaking on a conference call with reporters, team president Chris Klein said that Vagenas' history with the Galaxy made him the perfect candidate to take over the GM duties.
"[Vagenas] has been part of this club since its early years, and embodies everything that the Galaxy stands for," Klein said.
OFFICIAL: Peter Vagenas named #LAGalaxy General Manager: https://t.co/9NZju79Wxx pic.twitter.com/gVv6DSt7YV
- LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) November 28, 2016
He added: "Working with Pete over the last three years with our academy, not only does he have a deep affection for the LA Galaxy, and knows what we're about dating back to when this club was founded, but he also has a knowledge of what we've been building.
"That's the foundation of our academy through the launch of Galaxy II, and then certainly with the success we've had with the first team. I'm confident in the value brings to the club and understanding us, and also understanding the league rules and how we can best build a team that can be successful."
The club will now focus on finding a new manager, a task with which Vagenas will be heavily involved. With the expansion draft set to take place in December and the SuperDraft slated for January, Klein said he hoped to have a manager in place by the end of the year.
"We're actively preparing for 2017 now, but we know that a head coach has to be integrated into that process and needs to have a voice in that process," he said. "The sooner the better for us."
Klein said the Galaxy would speak to both internal and external candidates, and added that Curt Onalfo, currently the manager of Galaxy II, the club's reserve team, is among those being considered.
The coaching search will focus primarily on domestic candidates, Klein said, adding that some are currently coaching in MLS, but that it was likely that at least one foreign coach would be interviewed.
"It's imperative that we hire someone who is familiar with our club and our philosophy," Klein said.
One coach who Klein said wouldn't be considered is Dave Sarachan, a longtime assistant to Arena who departed the club last week. But when asked about former Galaxy manager Sigi Schmid, who was dismissed by the Seattle Sounders in July, Klein said he wouldn't talk about candidates, but hinted that Schmid would be considered.
"We haven't spoken yet though, [with Schmid]," he said.
Whoever is hired will have big shoes to fill, as Arena won three MLS Cups and a Supporters' Shield during his time with the Galaxy. Klein insisted the team would now try to leverage what was built during Arena's tenure.
"I'm not trying to get the new Bruce Arena," Klein said. "I'm trying to take the next step from what he has brought this club and celebrate all that he was.
"It's the same thing with players. You don't replace Landon Donovan or Robbie Keane. But you have to go out and get the next player because the expectations are still the same."