Curt Onalfo - LA Galaxy Head Coach
An MLS Cup winner as both a player and a coach, Curt Onalfo was announced as the USL PRO side LA Galaxy II head coach earlier in January 2014 after spending two seasons as the Galaxy’s Assistant Coach and Reserve Team Head Coach. In his first season with Galaxy II, Onalfo led the club to a 15-6-7 record and fourth place finish in the USL Regular Season while reaching the Semifinal match in the USL Playoffs.
A former MLS head coach with Kansas City and D.C. United, Onalfo played his college soccer for Bruce Arena at the University of Virginia and then served as his assistant coach with the U.S. National Team from 2003-2006. He was hired by the Galaxy in January 2011 and played a central role in the club repeating as Supporters’ Shield winners and capturing their third MLS Cup last season.
A Galaxy original, Onalfo played 13 games for the club in 1996, helping them reach the inaugural MLS Cup. He went on to play in 23 games in four years in the league, spending time with San Jose and D.C. United in addition to the Galaxy.
After retiring from MLS in 1999, Onalfo moved into the world of coaching as an assistant coach with D.C. United in 2001. He spent two years with United before moving onto the U.S. National Team as an assistant coach. In four years with the U.S., Onalfo helped the team win the 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup and qualify for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany.
Onalfo left the national team shortly after the 2006 World Cup and got his first heading coaching job in MLS in November 2006 when he was hired by the Kansas City Wizards (now Sporting Kansas City). The 42-year-old spent two-and-a-half seasons as the Kansas City head coach, leading the team to the postseason twice after seeing them fail to qualify for the playoffs in the two season prior to his arrival. He had a 27-29-22 record in his time with Kansas City before leaving the club in August 2009. Four months later, in December 2009, Onalfo was back in MLS as he was named the new head coach for D.C. United, replacing Tom Soehn.
Onalfo remained United’s head coach for eight months before leaving the club in August. He led United to the semifinal of the 2010 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and played a pivotal role in the growth and development of eventual MLS Rookie of the Year Andy Najar. Originally born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Onalfo played four years of college soccer at Virginia, helping the Cavaliers reach the NCAA Tournament four times and win a share of the National Championship in 1989. A two-time All-ACC First Team selection, Virginia had a 68-12-13 record in Onalfo’s four years in Charlottesville, including the 1988 ACC Championship. In addition to his play with the Cavaliers, Onalfo was a member of the U.S. U-20 team that finished fourth at the 1989 World Youth Championships and a co-captain with the 1992 U.S. Olympic Team. He began his professional playing career in 1991 with FC La Ciotat in France and later went on to play in Mexico with Tampico FC before returning to the United States to play in MLS.
He was selected by the Galaxy in the inaugural MLS Player Draft and spent one season with the club before being traded to San Jose in 1997. A year later, he joined D.C. United, helping the club win the 1998 InterAmerican Cup and CONCACAF Champions Cup, as well as the 1999 MLS Cup before retiring at the end of that season.
Jovan Kirovski - Technical Director
Jovan Kirovski, who retired following the 2011 season and served as an assistant coach for the Galaxy during the 2012 campaign, is the first Technical Director in the club’s history. Under the direction of Galaxy General Manager and Head Coach Bruce Arena, Kirovski, who spent the first 12 years of his professional career playing in Europe, scouts and evaluates players locally and abroad while also helping establish relationships with clubs around the world. Additionally, Kirovski helps implement a core curriculum throughout the Galaxy Academy while evaluating the Academy’s coaches and players and helping to recruit the top local talent to join the club.
A native of Escondido, Calif., Kirovski began his professional soccer career in 1992 when he joined the youth ranks at Manchester United alongside players like David Beckham, Gary Neville and Paul Scholes. After four years with United, Kirovski moved to Germany, signing with Borussia Dortmund, where he became the first American to win the UEFA Champions League in May 1997. Seven months later, Kirovski became the first American to score a goal in the competition, doing so against Sparta Prague in December 1997 as Dortmund went on to reach the semifinals of the 1997-98 Champions League. He spent the 1998-99 season on loan with fellow German side FC Koln before heading to Portugal a year later when he signed with Sporting Lisbon. After one season in Portugal, Kirovski moved to England, spending one season in the Championship with Crystal Palace before moving on to the Premier League, signing with Birmingham City. He scored twice in 23 league matches for the Blues during the 2002/03 and 2003/04 seasons, helping them retain their Premier League status.
After more than a decade in Europe, Kirovski first arrived in MLS in February 2004, signing with the Galaxy. An All-Star in his first year with the club when he scored an MLS-career-high eight goals, Kirovski spent the first year and a half of his time in MLS with the Galaxy, tallying 12 goals and six assists in 48 games. He was traded to Colorado in September 2005 and helped the Rapids reach back-to-back Western Conference Championships in 2005 and 2006 before finishing as the club’s top scorer in 2007. After 12 goals in 61 games for the Rapids, as well as the first postseason goal of his career, Kirovski was traded to San Jose in midway through the 2008 season before he returned to the Galaxy in November 2008. Back with his first MLS club, Kirovski became a key veteran contributor to the club’s renaissance, playing in central midfield and occasionally up front. He played in 56 games over the last three seasons as well as five postseason matches in that time, scoring six goals and adding three assists as the Galaxy reestablished themselves as the premier club in Major League Soccer. He finished his MLS career with 30 goals and 13 assists in 174 regular season games while helping his teams win a pair of Supporters’ Shields and MLS Cup 2011 in the final two years of his playing career.
In addition to his club career, Kirovski, who holds his U.S. Soccer Federation’s “A” coaching license, made 62 appearances with the U.S. National Team, scoring nine times for his country during an 11-year international career. He made his National Team debut in October 1994 and scored his first goal a month later in a 3-0 win over Jamaica. He helped the U.S. qualify for the World Cup in 1998, 2002 and 2006 while also appearing in the 1995 Copa America, the 1996 and 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cups as well as the 1999 and 2003 FIFA Confederations Cups. Kirovski collected his final cap in a U.S. uniform in April 2004, coming on as a second half substitute in a 1-0 win over Mexico in Dallas.
Ivan Pierra - Director of Sports Science Department
After working with the Galaxy for over 10 years from 1996-2008, Pierra, the first trainer in Galaxy history, returned to the club as the Sports Science Department Director in September of 2014 after working for U.S. Soccer Federation. The veteran sports science professional is one of only two athletic trainers in Galaxy history, replacing Armando Rivas who accepted a position with the Chicago Bulls of the NBA.
In the Galaxy’s inaugural season in 1996, Pierra began his initial stint with the Galaxy, where he worked as the athletic trainer for over 10 years before accepting a full-time position as Head Athletic Trainer for the U.S. Men’s National Team in 2008. Prior to then, he had freelanced on the U.S. Soccer Federation staff, including time working with then head coach Bruce Arena. In all, Pierra has worked in four FIFA World Cup tournaments (1994, 1998, 2010, 2014) with the U.S. Soccer Federation, serving as the Head Athletic Trainer in 2010 and 2014 under head coaches Bob Bradley and Jurgen Klinsmann.
Pierra began his professional career in in 1993 after he started working as an athletic trainer for the soccer team Los Angeles Salsa in the American Professional Soccer League. He attended Cal State-Fullerton University from 1990-1993, where he earned a degree in physical education before receiving his Masters of Science in kinesiology in 1999.
Using sports science and medicine programs, Pierra is responsible for monitoring all aspects of player health and fitness for the LA Galaxy, LA Galaxy II and LA Galaxy Academy.
Kurt Andrews - Assistant Athletic Trainer
A native of Rochester, Mich., Kurt Andrews is in his fourth season as the Galaxy’s Assistant Athletic Trainer. An athletic training intern for the Galaxy in 2010, Andrews was hired permanently by the club in January 2012. His primary role is to assist the club’s head athletic trainer with all of the club’s first team training and health related matters.
After graduating from Stony Creek High School in 2003, Andrews attended Oakland University in Michigan, where he majored in Exercise Science and worked with the men’s soccer and women’s volleyball teams before graduating in 2008. He then went on to the University of Arkansas, where he earned his Master’s Degree in Athletic Training. During his time in Fayetteville, Andrews worked with the Razorbacks football, women’s soccer, women’s basketball, men’s and women’s track and field teams as an athletic training student. That opportunity allowed him to work with some of the nation’s top track stars and a number of current and future NFL stars.
Andrews received his certification in both Functional Movement Screening and Selective Functional Movement Assessment in 2011 while at Arkansas. He uses these to assist and help implement rehabilitative exercises to better develop the players in there movement process to avoid possible injuries that can accrue during the season. He went on two receive his Functional Movement Screening Level 2 certification, enhancing his perspective on improving fundamental movement patterns.
Andrews is also a certified Performance Enhancement Specialist (PES), and Corrective Exercise Specialist (CES) through the National Academy of Sports Medicine.
Shunta Shimizu - Chiropractor and Scar Tissue Specialist
Shunta Shimizu enters his ninth season with the Galaxy as the club’s Chiropractor and Scar Tissue Specialist. He was invited to be an intern with the Galaxy in the beginning of 2005 season after treating Cobi Jones and Peter Vagenas.
Shimizu specializes with the active release technique, which breaks down scar tissue build up as a result of wear and tear of the body, injury, and post-surgery. His role in Galaxy is to keep athletes on the field and speed up the recovery process after an injury.
A former college soccer player, Shimizu graduated from Loyola Marymount University in 2001 where he majored in Psychology. He then graduated from Southern California University of Health Sciences in 2004 and became a licensed Doctor of Chiropractic in 2005. That same year he went on to become fully certified in Active Release Technique.
Daniel Guzman - Strength and Conditioning Coach
Daniel Guzman enters his second season as Head of Strength and Conditioning for the LA Galaxy. Previously Guzman started with EXOS at the StubHub center. While at EXOS, Guzman worked with a wide variety of athletes including: the U.S. Men’s National Team, Chivas USA, LA Galaxy II, as well as MLB, NFL, and NBA athletes. Guzman worked with the LA Galaxy II to help launch the team’s first season and work to implement strength, conditioning, and recovery systems for the team. Guzman earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Kinesiology with an Emphasis in Exercise Physiology from Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California. While at Westmont, Guzman played for the Men’s Soccer Team for four years and was named Captain by his teammates in his final year. Guzman is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (C.S.C.S.) through the NSCA.
Kristen Andrews - Sports Performance Dietitian
Kristen Andrews enters her first season as the Sports Performance Dietitian with the LA Galaxy. She works with the first team, LA Galaxy II, and the Academy teams to ensure the nutritional needs of all LA Galaxy athletes are met. Her primary duties include conducting one on one nutrition consultations with all players, collecting data through body fat testing, DXA scans, hydration tests, and blood tests to track athletes’ health status over time, designing menus for each teams’ daily meals, and providing nutrition education.
Andrews attended the University of Arkansas, where she majored in Dietetics and was a 7 time All-American on the Cross Country and Track and Field teams. While at Arkansas she won individual SEC titles in Cross Country, the Mile, and 3000 Meters; she set University of Arkansas school records in the Mile and Distance Medley Relay; she set an Indoor SEC Championships meet Mile record on her way to winning the indoor title in 2012; she was twice named the SEC female Runner of the Year; and she was named the 2012 South Central Region Track Athlete of the Year.
After receiving her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Arkansas in 2013, Andrews went on to California State University Long Beach, where she graduated after completion of her Dietetic Internship and Master’s Degree in Nutritional Science in 2015. As a graduate research assistant at California State University Long Beach, she worked with a team of researchers to collect data on the efficacy of nutrition education intervention on eating behaviors and health outcomes among elite collegiate cross country runners. That research experience helped her prepare for a future in sports nutrition.
Raul Vargas - Equipment Manager
A member of the Galaxy staff since the team’s inaugural season in 1996, Raul Vargas enters his 20th season as the club’s equipment manager. One of the longest tenured employees with the Galaxy and in all of MLS, Vargas was honored in 2008 as the MLS Equipment Manager of the Year. His numerous responsibilities include the ordering and maintaining of game uniforms, practice gear and equipment, making certain these items are ready to go when the players are, wherever in the world the team may be playing.
A native of Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico, Vargas is the only member of the team staff to have been a part of all five of the club’s MLS Cup titles, as well as the 2001 and 2005 U.S. Open Cup titles and the 2000 CONCACAF Champions Cup.
In addition to his work with the Galaxy, Vargas has long been involved in the sport of soccer in Southern California. A former goalkeeper, he spent several years playing in various local leagues in Los Angeles County as well as playing for five-time Lincoln League champion Deportivo Obrera and for Cobras of the Olympic Soccer League.
Rafael Verdin - Equipment Coordinator
A native of Long Beach, Calif., Rafael Verdin is in his fifth season with the Galaxy as the club’s Equipment Coordinator. Verdin, who originally joined the club in May 2010, assists Galaxy Equipment Manager Raul Vargas in his daily tasks while also handling most equipment related tasks during the club’s training sessions at StubHub Center. He is also in charge of organizing the player’s uniforms for games and daily training sessions.
Verdin graduated from Millikan High School in Long Beach, where he played four years of soccer, in 2009. In addition to his work with the Galaxy, Verdin is currently a student at Long Beach City College. He played one year of college soccer at Cypress College before joining the Galaxy on a permanent basis.
EXOS, formerly Athletes’ Performance, returns for its seventh season as the Official Performance Training Provider to the Galaxy. EXOS is recognized as the industry leader in offering the highest level of integrated performance training and performance physical therapy, as well as the most fully integrated training systems in the world. EXOS systems have helped to power the best of the best in sport: Green Jacket winners, Grand Slam Titles, World Series Winners, Stanley Cup Champions, Super Bowl and NBA Champions, Olympic Gold Medalists, World Cup Medalists and All-Stars from every major sport.
With training facilities at StubHub Center, EXOS is positioned to provide its world-renowned integrated training system to help the Galaxy players achieve their individual peak performance levels. Through the integration of performance training, physical therapy and nutrition, EXOS staff members create customized solutions for each Galaxy player helping to maximize productivity on the field and decrease injury potential.
Santa Monica Orthopaedic Group
The Santa Monica Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Group provides the official club doctors for the LA Galaxy, with the team of Dr. Bert Mandelbaum and Dr. Byron Patterson leading the group’s efforts with the club. SMOG has grown to be the premier orthopaedic practice in Western Los Angeles, and now consists of 12 physicians all of whom meet the highest standards of education, training and experience. In addition to their physicians, the group has assembled many of the top nurses, technicians and therapists ready to assist patients in any way possible, and their integrated practice includes the following services for better patient care and convenience:
- Digital X-Ray
- Extremity MRI
- Physical Therapy
- Outpatient Surgery Center
- Affiliated with St. John’s Hospital
In addition to providing these services for their patients, SMOG physicians are constantly involved in the development of new techniques and treatments to remain on the cutting edge of orthopaedic medicine. This includes work with the National Institute of Health as well as some of the world’s leading medical technology companies. In addition, SMOG has developed a nationally recognized fellowship program that annually trains 2-3 orthopaedic surgeons from around the country in the most advanced techniques of patient care for all aspects of sports medicine.