The San Jose Earthquakes have announced the arrival of new head coach Michael “Micke” Stahre, who will be formally introduced in the coming weeks. The forty-two-year-old resigned his post at BK Häcken earlier in the week, having recently led the Swedish side to a third-place finish in the Allsvenskan, and joins the Quakes on a multi-year contract.
Stahre began his career in the youth ranks in Sweden and made his professional breakthrough with Väsby United, winning promotion from the Swedish third division in his first year in charge. He then took the reigns of first division side AIK, with whom he won the Allsvenskan and both Swedish domestic cups. Stahre has also coached IFK Götenborg and made brief stints in Greece and China.
He replaces Chris Leitch, who will return to his previous role of Technical Director. Although the former defender had been touted as a “permanent” coach when he took the reigns in the summer, Fioranelli and his staff reevaluated the situation in the week after their 5-0 first-round playoff exit to the Vancouver Whitecaps and opted to search for new options.
They looked at “several” managers – from Europe, South America, and the United States – and established a shortlist of three candidates, Fioranelli told reporters in a conference call Friday. Fioranelli knew Stahre from his time in Italy and were reconnected via an agent. Fioranelli highlighted his strong reviews from players, who said Stahre offered them “security” and is a “great leader” in the locker room.
“We care about this very much,” said Fioranelli, perhaps a response to the cracks that appeared to emerge in the Quakes locker-room late last season. Fioranelli also cited Stahre’s impressive track record in Sweden and his strong point-per-game average, which he said was around 1.7. By comparison, the Quakes earned 1.3 points-per-game in league play last season.
Finally, Fioranelli noted that Stahre “identified with the opportunities and challenges” in San Jose. “That might seem generic,” he said, “but it gave us the certainty to say: ‘this is the right fit.'”