The LA Galaxy have named Curt Onalfo head coach, the club announced Tuesday. Onalfo, 47, becomes head coach after leading LA Galaxy II to a 41-20-25 record, three-straight playoff berths and the 2015 USL Western Conference Championship over the last three seasons in the United Soccer League (USL). Onalfo, who played for the Galaxy in their inaugural 1996 season and has over 10 years of experience in MLS, has won an MLS Cup and both a player and a coach.
“I am extremely excited and honored to become head coach of the LA Galaxy,” said Onalfo. “From my time as a player and a coach here, I know that this is the preeminent soccer club in the United States and I look forward to leading this team going forward. We have put together a fully-realized developmental system for our players and we will continue to be aggressive in signing world-class talent in order to build the most complete roster to compete for MLS Cup titles each season. I am thankful toMr. Anschutz, Dan Beckerman, Chris Klein and Peter Vagenas for this opportunity. We will begin the process of preparing for the 2017 MLS season immediately.”
After spending time as an assistant coach for the United States Men’s National Team, the head coach for Sporting Kansas City and the head coach D.C. United, Onalfo joined the Galaxy coaching staff in 2011 before LA captured the 2011 and 2012 MLS Cups. In 2014, he was named head coach of LA Galaxy II for their inaugural season. During his time as head coach of LA Galaxy II in USL, Onalfo led the Galaxy to three-consecutive postseason berths (2014, 2015, 2016) while winning the USL Western Conference in 2015. During his 86 games over three seasons with LA Galaxy II, Los Dos scored 145 goals and earned +34 goal differential.
“We have full confidence in Curt’s leadership, ability and dedication to lead the LA Galaxy as our next head coach,” said LA Galaxy President Chris Klein. “In addition to his experience and knowledge of Major League Soccer as both a player and a coach, Curt has an intimate understanding of the structure and culture of this club and has done a tremendous job with LA Galaxy II. We are excited for Curt to further invest in the LA Galaxy as we continue to provide him with the support and resources necessary to win MLS Cups.”
Throughout his time as a coach across Major League Soccer, Onalfo acquired and gave professional debuts to defender Matt Besler, midfielder Graham Zusi, defender Chance Myers, midfielder Roger Espinoza, midfielder Andy Najar and goalkeeper Bill Hamid. Additionally, as head coach of LA Galaxy II, Onalfo helped develop current LA Galaxy players Ariel Lassiter, Daniel Steres, Dave Romney and Clement Diop, who featured for Los Dos during his tenure. Onalfo also gave Galaxy forward Bradford Jamieson IV his professional debut.
Onalfo played in Major League Soccer from 1995-1999, representing the LA Galaxy, D.C. United and the San Jose Clash (now San Jose Earthquakes). Prior to becoming a professional, Onalfo played soccer for former Galaxy manager Bruce Arena at the University of Virginia for four seasons, where he helped 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, Onalfo led Virginia to a 68-12-13 record in his four years in Charlottesville, including the 1988 ACC Championship.
Originally born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Onalfo was selected by the Galaxy in the inaugural MLS Player Draft and spent one season with the club. The Galaxy original played 13 games for the club in 1996, helping them reach the inaugural MLS Cup. He went on to play in 23 total games in four years in the league, spending time with San Jose and D.C. United in addition to the Galaxy. As a member of D.C. United, Onalfo helped 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.
After retiring from MLS, 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). He 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.
Following his time in D.C., Onalfo joined the staff of the LA Galaxy, where he served as Assistant Coach and Reserve Team head coach for two years. In 2011, Onalfo was named the first-ever head coach of LA Galaxy II, the first MLS-owned and operated team to compete in USL. In his first season with Galaxy II, Onalfo led the club to a 15-6-7 record and third place finish in the USL Regular Season while reaching the Semifinal match in the USL Playoffs. Last year, Onalfo led Los Dos to a USL Western Conference Championship, reaching the USL Final in just his second season.