coaching staff announcement

SAN JOSE, Calif. – The San Jose Earthquakes today announced their full coaching and technical staff ahead of the 2023 Major League Soccer season.

Incoming head coach Luchi Gonzalez will be supported by assistant coaches Ian Russell, Steve Ralston, and Luciano Fusco, and goalkeeper coach Adin Brown. Russell and Brown are new additions to the staff while Ralston and Fusco served as interim assistant coaches during the 2022 season. Brown’s hire was previously announced on Dec. 2.

The Quakes are also welcoming Ron Shinault as Director of Health and Performance, Michael Brown as Head of Physical Performance, and Vander Salas as Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach.

“We set a clear objective to build a coaching staff with a wealth of knowledge, experience, and passion for Major League Soccer,” said Earthquakes General Manager Chris Leitch. “We believe that is an integral part of navigating the unique challenges and opportunities of this league. Our coaching staff possesses 62 years of combined MLS experience, as players or coaches, and another 19 years in the MLS player pathway. This group has been to a combined 10 MLS Cup Finals, produced many national team players, and worked at every level of the U.S. soccer ecosystem.

“I would like to thank Alex Covelo and Chris Wondolowski for their hard work on the coaching staff in 2022. We’re excited that both will remain with the club in other important capacities.”

Gonzalez was most recently an assistant coach with the United States Men’s National Team at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Gonzalez previously served as head coach of FC Dallas from 2019-21. During his first two seasons at the helm, his side lost just one regular season home match (17-1-9) and reached the MLS Cup Playoffs twice. He also served as the Director of the FC Dallas Academy from 2012-18 and won four USSDA National Championships while helping develop several future U.S. National Team players, including Weston McKennie, Chris Richards, Ricardo Pepi, and Jesus Ferreira, among others. Gonzalez was a 2002 SuperDraft selection by San Jose and played professionally in the United States, Sweden, and Peru.

Russell returns to San Jose as an assistant coach. Russell made 134 appearances in MLS between 2000-07, including 131 for San Jose between 2000-05, helping the Earthquakes win MLS Cup championships in 2001 and 2003 and a Supporters’ Shield in 2005. The Seattle native then served as an assistant coach for the Quakes from 2008-16, which included a second Supporters’ Shield in 2012. Russell was named head coach of the Earthquakes’ then USL affiliate Reno 1868 FC ahead of their inaugural season in 2017. During his four years at the helm with Reno, Russell was named the USL Co-Coach of the Year in 2020, USL Coach of the Year finalist in both 2017 and 2019, guided his team to the postseason all four seasons, and became the second-fastest coach in USL history to win 60 regular season games. Russell most recently served as an assistant coach with Toronto FC in 2021.

Brown joins the Earthquakes as goalkeeper coach. Brown most recently served as goalkeeper coach for Chicago Fire FC (2020-22), where he helped develop Gabriel ‘Gaga’ Slonina into one of MLS’s best young players before securing a transfer to Chelsea FC for up to $15 million – a league record for a goalkeeper. Prior to joining Chicago, Brown was goalkeeper coach for the Portland Timbers (2015-17) and Timbers2 (2018-19) and helped the club win its first MLS Cup in 2015. He was also goalkeeper coach for the University of Portland men’s soccer team from 2013-15. Brown, a native of Pleasant Hill, Calif. and graduate of De La Salle High School, attended the College of William and Mary and became just the third goalkeeper in NCAA history to be named a First-Team All-America selection twice. He was also the United States’ starting keeper throughout qualification for the 2000 Summer Olympics but missed the competition due to injury. Brown was the third-overall selection in the 2000 MLS SuperDraft and ultimately made 85 MLS appearances for Colorado, Tampa Bay, New England, and Portland, while also spending four and a half years playing in Norway (2005-09).

Ralston remains with the Quakes as an assistant coach. A native of St. Louis, Ralston retired from Major League Soccer in 2010 as the league’s then all-time leader in assists (135), games played (378), starts (372), and minutes (33,143). He played in four MLS Cup Finals for New England, was named an MLS All-Star seven times, and received MLS Best XI recognition three times during his 15-year playing career. He then spent four and a half years as an assistant coach with Houston Dynamo FC (2010-14), where he led the team to two consecutive MLS Cup Finals (2011-12) and three consecutive Conference Finals (2011-13). He joined San Jose in the same capacity in 2015 before being elevated to interim head coach for the final six matches of the 2018 season. After three years away, he returned to San Jose as an interim assistant coach in 2022.

Fusco remains with San Jose as an assistant coach. Fusco was an assistant under interim head coach Alex Covelo during the final 27 matches of the 2022 season. He previously held roles as an assistant coach with Quakes II in MLS NEXT Pro and as a head coach in the Quakes Academy. Prior to joining the Earthquakes in 2018, Fusco served as a head coach in the LAFC Academy and as an assistant coach for UCLA men’s soccer team from 2016-2018, where he worked with future Quakes and U.S. National Team midfielder Jackson Yueill. He also earned four coaching invites with the U.S. U16 National Team.

Shinault returns to San Jose as Director of Health and Performance, overseeing sports medicine, physical performance, and health and wellness for the club. He most recently served as Head Athletic Trainer for the United States Men’s National Team (2019-2022) and was with the USMNT in Qatar during the 2022 FIFA World Cup. He previously worked with the Earthquakes as Director of Performance (2018-19) and Head Athletic Trainer (2015-18). Shinault began his career as an Assistant Athletic Trainer with Florida State University (2002-04), University of Georgia (2004-06), and University of San Francisco (2006-08) before rising to Director of Sports Medicine with USF (2008-15).

Shinault will be supported by Head Athletic Trainer Manny De Alba and Assistant Athletic Trainers Brendon Taguinod and Beatriz Olmedo, who were all on the staff in 2022.

Brown most recently served as the Head of Physical Performance for FK Bodø/Glimts of Norway’s top-flight Eliteserien. In his four seasons with FK Bodø/Glimts, the club finished as champions twice (2020, 2021) and runners-up twice (2019, 2022). FK Bodø/Glimts also reached the UEFA Europa League Quarterfinals in the 2021-22 season, including a 6-1 win over Italy’s AS Roma in the Group Stage to hand legendary manager Jose Mourinho the largest defeat of his coaching career. Prior to his time in Norway, Brown was a Senior Physiotherapist for Notts County FC (2018-19) and the Head Academy Physiotherapist for Championship side Hull City in his native England.

Salas comes to San Jose after spending the 2022 season with Orlando City SC as Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach with the first team and Head of Strength and Conditioning with the second team. Prior to Orlando, Salas spent seven years in a similar capacity with FC Dallas, including three years as Head of Strength and Conditioning under current Quakes head coach Luchi Gonzalez (2019-21). A native from El Paso, Texas, Salas holds a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology from the University of North Texas.

Alex Covelo, the club’s interim head coach in 2022, will return to his original role as Director of Methodology. He will oversee coaching development for the second team and academy and continue implementing a style of play and identity that aligns with the first team. Covelo originally joined the Quakes in 2017 as Director of Methodology before serving as an interim assistant coach at the end of both the 2017 and 2018 MLS seasons. He was appointed head coach of Earthquakes II in MLS NEXT Pro ahead of their inaugural season in 2022 before being elevated to interim head coach of the first team in April.

Chris Wondolowski, an interim assistant coach in 2022, will remain a part of the club’s technical staff and Front Office. Wondolowski’s role on the technical staff will focus on the individual development of first team players. He will also work with stakeholders for Quakes II and the Quakes Academy to accelerate the development of the pipeline’s most high-potential players. Wondolowski, Major League Soccer’s all-time leading scorer with 171 career goals, retired from the Earthquakes following the 2021 season.

More information about the club’s staffs for Quakes II (MLS NEXT Pro) and the Quakes Academy (MLS NEXT) will be announced later.