[MLS SPOTLIGHT]Nelson Rodriguez, the longtime executive at the MLS league office, has been appointed president of Chivas USA. He'll be responsible for overseeing all aspects of Chivas USA’s operations as MLS searches for a new ownership group.
The move follows MLS's purchase of Chivas USA from Jorge Vergara and Angelica Fuentes. The league will operate the club until a new ownership group is finalized. Wilmer Cabrera, who joined the club Jan. 9, will continue in his position as head coach and report to Rodriguez.
“I have had the privilege of working with Nelson for over 14 years and am very pleased that he has agreed to serve as the president of Chivas USA," said MLS Commissioner Don Garber in a statement. "Based on his long experience on both the business and sporting side of our game, I have great confidence that he will provide strong leadership for the club during this transition year."
Rodriguez spent 14 years at the MLS league office, where he most recently served as Executive Vice President of Competition, Technical and Game Operations. In early January, it was reported that Rodriguez had resigned and would step down from his position at the end of January.
Rodriguez had worked for the 1994 World Cup local organizing committee for the Giants Stadium venue, served as a coach at Lafayette and was an executive with the MetroStars before joining MLS. He rose quickly through the ranks as he worked on a number of international initiatives for SUM, MLS's marketing and events arm.
“I am thankful for the opportunity and recognize the responsibility in what is an important season for the club,” said Rodriguez. “Regardless of the ownership status, this team and staff will compete on all fronts and we look forward to the challenge.”
In its statement, MLS said it will resell the club to a new ownership group that is committed to building a new stadium and keeping the team in Los Angeles and it has had initial discussions with a number of very qualified potential owners and intends to finalize an agreement with a new group sometime this year.
Chivas USA will play at StubHub Center, where it has one year left on its lease, though the rebranded team would likely remain there until it moves into a stadium of its own in the Los Angeles area.