CARSON (AP) — Guillermo Barros Schelotto was named the LA Galaxy’s head coach on Wednesday, taking over the five-time MLS champion franchise after three seasons with Boca Juniors.
Schelotto had been in charge at Boca since March 2016, winning two championships in his native Argentina’s top division.
He also won six league titles during a decade as a forward for Boca, followed by four seasons playing for MLS’ Columbus Crew from 2007-10.
Schelotto replaces Dominic Kinnear, who finished out last season as the Galaxy’s interim coach in place of Sigi Schmid. The Galaxy missed the playoffs for the second consecutive year despite a stellar debut season by Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
“I know the league, and I know how important the Galaxy is inside MLS,” Schelotto said in an interview distributed by the Galaxy. “So for me, it’s a very big opportunity.”
Schelotto’s contract was not renewed by Boca last month despite his consistent success and enduring popularity with fans. Boca lost the second leg of the Copa Libertadores final to archrival River Plate in extra time Dec. 9 after the match was relocated from Buenos Aires to Madrid .
But Schelotto quickly found a solid landing spot, moving back to MLS to join a franchise with extensive financial resources and a determination to return to its previous heights. He already knows the league after his stellar playing career in Columbus, where he scored 38 goals and earned the MLS MVP award in 2008 while the Crew won the league title.
“We believe Guillermo will be a landmark signing for this club,” new Galaxy general manager Dennis te Kloese said. “Guillermo is a proven winner who has experience coaching, playing and winning for big clubs. It is our hope that Guillermo’s managing style and familiarity with MLS will bring trophies and championships to LA Galaxy fans and the city of Los Angeles.”
Schelotto was widely rumored to be under consideration for the MLS coaching vacancies in Columbus and Atlanta, but the Galaxy landed him. MLS’ flagship team is in need of a fresh start after stumbling through the past two years since the departure of Bruce Arena, the Galaxy’s longtime head coach and general manager.
Schelotto and te Kloese represent a thorough revamping of the Galaxy’s leadership. Te Kloese joined the Galaxy last month after a lengthy stint with the Mexican national team.
The 37-year-old Ibrahimovic heads an impressive list of elite attacking talent for the Galaxy including Romain Alessandrini and Ola Kamara. The Galaxy’s defense was shaky last season, but te Kloese is expected to make big changes after the Galaxy declined their contract options on Ashley Cole and Michael Ciani.
“I think we can have a great year,” Schelotto said. “I have the best expectation for them. I think we can work together.”
Schelotto has experience with world-class offensive talents after coaching Carlos Tevez during his two stints at Boca in the past three years.