SAN JOSE, Calif. – 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.
“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.
“I’m really excited for this opportunity with one of the league’s founding clubs,” said Gonzalez. “I thoroughly enjoyed working with the club’s leadership team throughout the interview process and was impressed by their vision for the future, both on and off the field. Chris Leitch and his team have put together a solid foundation of players and I’m looking forward to working with them. As excited as I am for this opportunity, I’m going to remain focused on helping the U.S. National Team be as successful as possible through the FIFA World Cup and I will be ready to give everything for San Jose once that journey is over.”
Following his playing career, the Miami, Fla. native took over as Director of the FC Dallas Academy in 2012 and helped guide the most successful youth program in the United States. In his six years with the FC Dallas Academy, the club won four U.S. Soccer Development Academy National Championships and the 2016 Dallas Cup Super Group (U19). Gonzalez helped develop many youth players who have gone onto successful professional careers, including Kellyn Acosta (LAFC), Reggie Cannon (Boavista), Jesus Ferreira (FC Dallas), Weston McKennie (Juventus), Shaq Moore (Nashville SC), Ricardo Pepi (FC Augsberg), Paxton Pomykal (FC Dallas), Bryan Reynolds (Roma), Chris Richards (Crystal Palace), and Tanner Tessmann (Venezia FC), all of which have represented the senior U.S. National Team.
“We are excited to welcome Luchi to the Quakes,” said Earthquakes Managing Partner John Fisher. “He has led his teams to the MLS Cup Playoffs and helped develop many of the best young American players around the world. We will be rooting on Luchi as assistant coach of the U.S. National Team and eagerly watching as they head to the World Cup later this year. We are proud to have Luchi lead our team into 2023 and beyond.”
Gonzalez was named FC Dallas’ head coach ahead of the 2019 season and 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.
Gonzalez was a U.S. U17 National Team player that competed for four seasons at Southern Methodist University (SMU). After winning the Hermann Trophy as the nation’s best collegiate player in 2001, Gonzalez was selected sixth overall by the Earthquakes in the 2002 MLS SuperDraft. He made eight appearances during his rookie season with San Jose before later playing in Sweden and Peru. He then returned to MLS in 2005, finishing with 22 appearances across two seasons with the Colorado Rapids.
Gonzalez received his Elite Formation Coaching License as part of Major League Soccer’s partnership with the French Football Federation. He then earned his U.S. Soccer Pro License, which represents the highest soccer license recognized in North America.