All you need to know about Los Angeles Football Club
For the last few years, Los Angeles has been dominated by the monopoly football club; the LA Galaxy. Next season a new club is in town and they come with heavy backing. Los Angeles Football Club (or LAFC) are an MLS expansion club formed in 2014 and will be competing in the next MLS season when it commences in March. Not much is known about the new team so here’s a starters guide to the newly-born LAFC.
How were they formed?
Back in 2014, Chivas USA, an MLS club based in Los Angeles, were bought by investors, including Henry Nguyen, Peter Duber and Cardiff owner Vincent Tan, and the club folded. This opened up a space for an expansion team and LAFC were formed by the aforementioned trio, with a plan to build their stadium in downtown Los Angeles.
That was over three years ago so, why has it taken so long to get up and running? Well, the club have had to wait for their new state-of-the-art stadium to be built in the Exposition Park area of Los Angeles. Building work started in the summer of 2016 and is scheduled to finish in the spring of 2018, hopefully in time for the start of the MLS season.
The club is well-backed, particularly with the wealthy input of Nguyen, Duber and Tan. They’ve also acquired investments from the likes of Magic Johnson and Will Ferrell. The naming rights for their stadium, the Banc of California Stadium, are worth over $6.5 a year so they’ve managed to attract some pretty big names in the world of football.
Who plays for them?
The big name signing and first designated player at the club has been Carlos Vela. The former Arsenal and Real Sociedad winger will join up with his new team in 2018, and joins a growing group of Mexican players in Los Angeles. On the other side, at LA Galaxy, you’ve got the Dos Santos brothers, Giovanni and Jonathan. The 28-year-old isn’t anywhere near retirement to expect him to bring plenty to MLS next season.
Former Belgium international, Laurent Ciman, was signed from Montreal Impact, in exchange for two players in the MLS Expansion Draft. Ciman was named MLS Defender of the Year whilst at Montreal in 2015 and appeared for his country in Euro 2016 so he has plenty of experience and quality to add to this LAFC squad.
They currently have a nine-player roster and will look to add to that with the MLS SuperDraft in Januar,y while also looking to develop players through their academy. They could also turn to their affiliate club, Orange County SC.
Who’s in charge?
Since his sacking by Swansea in December 2016, Bob Bradley had been without a job in coaching until LAFC announced his arrival as their first head coach in July 2017. Despite his torrid time in the Premier League, Bradley has a big reputation in the States and has previously managed two MLS clubs as well as the USA National Team. He was triumphant in 1998 when his Chicago Fire team won the MLS in their first ever season so he’s more than capable of taking this new club all the way.
Having been the most famous club in California for much of their 23-year history, LA Galaxy are going to have to deal with some noisy neighbours from now on. Bob Bradley, backed by his wealthy investors, could create a very interesting rivalry in the world’s showbiz capital. After all, that town isn’t big enough for the two of them.