''There is no one as qualified to help us take the sport and franchise to the next level as Alexi,'' said Timothy Leiweke, president of the Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), which operates the franchise.
The during the Tuesday press conference announcing Lalas' appointment, Leiweke alluded to reports that Mexico's Club America would be taking over the team.
''This important hire should indicate that we are clearly committed to San Jose and any innuendos or rumors to the contrary are incorrect,'' Leiweke said. ''Although this is a critical year for the club to continue to move forward, including the decision on a long-term facility answer, the Earthquakes will be the Earthquakes this year in San Jose with the existing team structure. We believe Alexi gives it its best chance to succeed.''
Lalas, 33, played seven years in MLS for New England, the MetroStars, Kansas City and Los Angeles. He started four games for the United States at the 1994 World Cup and was a member of the 1998 World Cup team.
Between the 1994 World Cup and the launch of MLS in 1996, Lalas played for Italian Serie A club Padova.
''This is a tremendous opportunity to join an already established, championship team and to direct their continued growth from both the business end as well as player personnel,'' said Lalas.
''I am thrilled to see another former player join the management of an MLS team, especially someone who has accomplished as much as Alexi Lalas,'' said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. ''Alexi has always been more than a soccer player in this country. He is a pioneer who understands where the game has come from and where it needs to go. His leadership qualities, energy and unique ability to relate to people at all levels of the sport will serve him well in his new role.''
Current director of business operations Kate McAllister will stay with the club in her current position.