The San Jose Earthquakes have sacked Dominic Kinnear, head coach for two-and-a-half seasons, and his assistant coach John Spencer. Current Quakes Technical Director Chris Leitch will assume the head coach position on a permanent basis with former Director of Methodology Alex Covelo as assistant.
Although Kinnear entered the season on shaky footing after missing the playoffs for two consecutive years, the timing of the move comes with some surprise the day after a solid 2-1 victory over Real Salt Lake and less than a week ahead of the ever-important Cali Clasico.
“First and foremost, we would like to thank Dominic for his hard work, professionalism, and contributions to this club over the years,” said Earthquakes general manager Jesse Fioranelli. “He worked hard this year and was a first-class person all the way. This decision was made after a lot of thought and evaluation. We decided that we wanted to go in a different direction as we continue to build the identity of this club.”
Incoming head coach Leitch has held numerous positions for the Quakes since retiring as a player in 2011 but has no prior head coaching experience. Leitch had a ten-year player career in MLS from 2002 to 2011, including successful stints at NY Red Bulls and the Quakes, where he was 2009 Defensive Player of the Year.
“Chris is the ideal person to take this role for the Earthquakes at this time,” said Fioranelli. “He has a history with the club and has very good knowledge of our entire development pipeline from the youth teams, through PDL and USL up to the first team. He combines that with a shared vision for the club’s identity that we have been developing for the past months. Chris and Alex give us two very good soccer minds with a desire to make this club one of the best in MLS.”
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