Los Angeles, Calif. — Greg Vanney is back in Los Angeles. Not necessarily a native of the city, but with roots in California, Vanney has joined the LA Galaxy as its head coach.
Vanney featured for the Galaxy as a professional soccer player, in the role of defender. Before that, though, Vanney spent three seasons with the University of California, Los Angeles, where he was an All-American. He was drafted by the Galaxy in the MLS SuperDraft in 1996.
In two separate stints, Vanney featured for the Galaxy from 1996-2002 and in 2008. After hs professional career ended, Vanney remained in Los Angeles and became an assistant coach for Chivas USA, which was based in Carson, Calif.
After two years with Chivas USA, Vanney landed his first head coaching job with Toronto FC. His success with the club was tremendous, leading them to an MLS Cup title and three MLS Cup final appearances. However, at the beginning of the MLS offseason, Vanney said he wanted a new challenge, and discussed moving on from Toronto with his family.
“I am extremely excited about the opportunity to coach the LA Galaxy,” Vanney said, via a press release. “The LA Galaxy are an iconic club with a rich history in Los Angeles, MLS and North American soccer over the last 25 years… I am committed to working tirelessly for this club, our fans and Los Angeles to win a championship. I look forward to this new challenge in my career and am eager to get started.”
Welcome Home, 𝕲reg ✨ pic.twitter.com/oOPe4Yn7Vc
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) January 5, 2021
Vanney to bring much-needed change
The LA Galaxy are far removed from the MLS Cup-winning powerhouse they were in the early 2010s. After winning MLS Cup in 2014, the Galaxy have been on a steady decline. They made the playoffs in 2015 and 2016, but lost early. However, in the last six seasons, the Galaxy’s worst season was in 2017. A low-point, they finished 11th in the Western Conference and 22nd overall.
Meanwhile, a small bounce back in 2018 helped the Galaxy finish in eighth place, but still missing out on the playoffs. In 2019, LA made the playoffs once again, but crashed in the quarterfinals to city-rival Los Angeles FC.
In 2020, the Galaxy failed to meet expectations, finishing 10th in the Western Conference and failing to qualify for the playoffs. Head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto — commonly referred to as “GBS” — was fired on Oct. 29. After the MLS is Back Tournament, the Galaxy failed to find their footing, losing six matches in a row at one point.
Now, Vanney, a proven winner who turned around one club in his head coaching career, is looking to replicate the success he had with Toronto. He has a talented roster to work with, which includes the likes of Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Daniel Steres, Jonathan dos Snatos and Sebastian Lletget.
“We are thrilled that Greg is returning to the LA Galaxy as our Head Coach,” LA Galaxy President Chris Klein said. “Greg is focused on building a culture that will serve as the foundation of this club. He is detail-oriented, a fierce competitor and has a deep understanding of our league and what it takes to succeed on and off the field. He will be an outstanding ambassador for the LA Galaxy, our supporters and Los Angeles.”
Our love is 𝔢𝔱𝔢𝔯𝔫𝔞𝔩 💙🤍💛 pic.twitter.com/HBQcwfhGaL
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) January 5, 2021
Last Words on Greg Vanney to LA Galaxy
This move was solidified when Vanney announced he wasn’t returning to Toronto.
He did what he needed to do in Canada. Vanney turned around a Toronto FC team that was the laughing stock of MLS and made them into a powerhouse. The Galaxy, knowing of that success, are going to be in good hands under Vanney. However, just like Toronto, the change might not happen overnight, but he’ll provide the building blocks.
Vanney is a proven winner in MLS, as mentioned. The Galaxy need a proven winner to right the course. Vanney can help them earn the right to be a dominant club once again.