If you are a Chivas USA fan, this will probably be a "No duh" post, but I feel the need to get something out into the open. Over the past several weeks, I've noticed a trend among fans and writers of other MLS teams that puts pretty much everything Chivas USA onto the shoulders of Jose Luis Sanchez Sola. In addition to being head coach of the first team, I've been asked indirect and direct questions about Chelís' player personnel decisions, his efforts in marketing the club, and even his efforts to get the team a stadium in Southern California. I'm not making this up.
So, let me set the record straight: Chelís is the coach of Chivas USA, not their owner, not their GM, not their marketing director, or President.
I think this is what's happening to cause the confusion: Chelís is the face of the club right now, and his charisma and outspoken style means he's become a focal point for the club to the public. Jorge Vergara has remained silent and out of sight since his press conference last November, and the management (Jose Luis Real, Dennis te Kloese, Jose David, Paco Palencia) divide their time and work between Chivas USA and Chivas de Guadalajara. Although David and Palencia have been in Los Angeles the past week, they still have to juggle two clubs.
Since Chelís is the only public figure on this team that people who don't follow Chivas USA very closely know about (besides Dan Kennedy and Juan Agudelo), the logical leap has been made that Chelís has more responsibilities than he actually does.
He maintained through the preseason that his job was to coach the team. This was despite speculation that he was behind the roster overhaul. While Chelís certainly had a hand in deciding who was staying with the team, there is no indication that he pulled the trigger on the spate of trades in the preseason, or that he decided which players were coming in, for the most part. He has claimed, in fact, that he wanted Walter Vilchez and Joaquin Velazquez, and they were the only players he really insisted upon bringing to the club. He also spoke glowingly about selecting Carlos Alvarez at the SuperDraft, but otherwise, he was no more than a contributing voice in player personnel discussions.
And really, can he bear any responsibility for the marketing woes, and the lack of a local television contract this season? Of course not. As great as it would be for him to pull in 18,000 people to games through sheer force of magnetism, Chelís is not responsible for the lack of marketing in greater Los Angeles this year, the failure to really promote the team, and the inability to watch the club on a local TV station. The blame belongs to the men higher up in the pecking order.
So again, if somebody asks you what Chelís is doing about this or that concerning Chivas USA, and it isn't related to coaching matters, please let him or her know that Chelís is part of a team. He seems to be pulling his weight, but the rest of the management needs to pulls theirs.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!