Earthquakes introduce Luchi Gonzales as new head coach of the team

Luchi Gonzales posed with a jersey at his introductory press conference as the new head coach of the San Jose Earthquakes at the Signia Hotel on Wednesday Aug 17, 2022. (Sports Radio Service)

by Marko Ukalovic

SAN JOSE — The San Jose Earthquakes announced today that the club has hired Luchi Gonzalez as head coach. Gonzalez, currently an assistant coach with the United States Men’s National Team, will take over at the conclusion of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The interim coaching staff, led by Alex Covelo, will remain in their current roles through the end of the 2022 season.

The club introduced their new head coach, slated to take over duties in 2023, at the rebranded Signia Hotel (formerly The Fairmont) in downtown San Jose on Thursday afternoon in front of media, fans and team personnel during a press conference that was emceed by play-by-play announcer Ted Ramey.

“Luchi has all of the attributes that we sought in our next head coach,” said Earthquakes General Manager Chris Leitch. “He has had success coaching in Major League Soccer with playoff appearances in his first two seasons and has a very strong track record in youth development. His strengths and desires align with our short and long-term goals as a club, and we look forward to him taking the reins after the World Cup.”

Gonzalez, 42, has served as an assistant coach for the U.S. National Team since December 2021. With Gonzalez on staff, the USMNT played their final six qualification matches for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and secured their place in the competition for the first time since 2014.

Gonzalez stated he wants to win right away and doesn’t believe the team needs to do a full on rebuild.

“I think there is a lot of potential. I think it’s a high potential group and club. The academy is growing. You got young players doing well. You have people that would die for this jersey on this roster,” Gonzalez said.

Luchi, along with management, have a win now state of mind and emphasized that point during the presser.

“The ambition is to win, is to make the playoffs next year. Plain and simple. We must make the playoffs next year. That’s going to be our mentality, our objective. The process is the most important for me. That’s where the work has gotta be done. Everybody has to believe. Fans, team staff, me, leadership, we all gotta believe to make next year’s maybe at end of the year moment count. But it’s gotta start with believing in the next step, which the process,” Gonzales stated.

Gonzalez previously MLS coaching experience was back in 2019 as the head coach of FC Dallas. He led the club to back-to-back MLS Cup Playoff appearances in 2019 and 2020. Over those two seasons, FC Dallas lost just one of 27 home matches (17-1-9) and ranked top-seven defensively both years. He departed the club in September 2021.

Gonzaled said, “Everything I learned from my former experiences in Dallas, have led me to be in this moment to grab the opportunity for San Jose.”

San Jose has nine matches remaining on a dismal season that has them anchoring the bottom of the Western Conference standings. The Earthquakes host Socal rival LAFC on Saturday at 7:00pm at Pay Pal Park.