On Monday, the San Jose Earthquakes parted ways with head coach Matias Almeyda and his staff, who had led the team since 2019. General Manager Chris Leitch said the search for a permanent replacement is underway, but the interim staff led by Alex Covelo will look to right the ship in the meantime.
Here are five things to know about interim head coach Alex Covelo ahead of his debut on the sideline in tonight’s U.S. Open Cup match vs. Bay Cities FC.
1. Alex Covelo has been a part of the Earthquakes organization since 2017. Originally hired as Director of Methodology, with the objective of creating a game development program to unite the first team and academy, Covelo has been a Swiss army knife of sorts for the club. He served as an interim assistant coach for the first team on two separate occasions (2017, 2018) and also worked directly with most high-potential players in the Quakes Academy to further boost their development.
2. Covelo has served as head coach of Earthquakes II during their inaugural season in MLS NEXT Pro. Despite being one of the youngest teams in the league and only having eight players signed to MLS NEXT Pro contracts (most of the others are amateur youth players), Covelo’s side has been incredibly entertaining to watch. The team is 1-2-0 after three matches, with a convincing 2-0 road win over Timbers2, an unlucky 1-0 road loss to Dynamo 2, and a 1-0 home defeat to North Texas SC, in which they outshot their opponent 17-4.
3. Covelo brings a wealth of international experience to the sideline. During his career, he worked in his native Spain and Italy, serving in a variety of roles that included first team head coach, youth team head coach, match analyst, and coaching instructor at Ekkono Soccer Services Group that collaborated with Paris Saint-Germain.
4. Covelo played for the famed FC Barcelona Academy through the U19 level. He played alongside Xavi Hernandez, one of the most decorated midfielders ever and current head coach at Barcelona.
5. He speaks four(!) languages: English, Spanish, Italian and Catalan. He will be able to directly communicate with every current member of the locker room.