MLS: Lothar Osiander Named New Clash Head Coach

Longtime Bay Area resident and former United States national team coach Lothar Osiander, who led the Los Angeles Galaxy to the first Major League Soccer championship game and also coached the U.S. in two Olympic Games, was named today as the new coach of the San Jose Clash. "Over the past 20 years, at every level from amateur to professional to the Olympic team to the national team, Lothar Osiander has earned his reputation as one of the best soccer coaches in America," Clash General Manager Lynne Meterparel said. "He has a great eye for talent, both domestic and international. He's ideal for the job of taking the Clash into the next century." Osiander, 59, who replaces Brian Quinn, will join the Clash upon completion of his duties with U.S. Pro-40, the MLS "Project-40" team of young players, which has reached the second round of the A-League playoffs. "I'm excited about joining the Clash and working for a Major League Soccer team in the Bay Area," Osiander said. "The Clash has done a good job putting together a core of young, talented players, and I'm looking forward to the challenge of making this a winning team." Jorge Espinoza, the Clash's assistant coach, will serve as interim head coach, until Osiander is available, Meterparel said. "One of the things that makes Lothar such a good fit for the Clash is his ability with younger players," Meterparel said. "We've put together a very talented team, but it's also a young team -- the average age of the players on our roster is under 25 (24.9) - and he's the right person to mold these good, young players into a team that will be a winner for years to come. "Lothar's coached in the Olympics, he's coached the national team, and he coached the Galaxy to the first MLS Cup," Meterparel said. "And he's done a sensational job this season with the P-40 team." Osiander guided the P-40s. who played all of their games on the road, to a 17-11 record and a second-place finish in the A-League's Central Division. Osiander's team upset the favored Vancouver 86ers, 3-1, in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs and meets the Minnesota Thunder on Saturday in the first game of the best-of-three conference semifinals. "Wherever Lothar has gone, with whatever challenge he has been presented, he has been a winner," Meterparel said. Osiander led Los Angeles to a magnificent start In MLS's inaugural season in 1996, as the Galaxy won its first 12 games. Osiander's team finished the regular season in first place in the MLS West with a 19-13 record and went on to MLS Cup '96 in Foxboro, Mass., dropping a 3-2 overtime decision to D.C. United. As coach of the U.S. national team from 1986 to '88, Osiander compiled a 13-7 record. He coached the U.S. Olympic Team in both 1988, when Clash defender John Doyle was a member of the squad, and in 1992, when Clash midfielder Dario Brose was part of the team. Osiander also coached the U.S. to the gold medal at the Pan-American Games in 1991, leading his team to victory in all five of its games, including a 2-1 overtime win over Mexico in the championship game. Osiander guided the San Francisco Greek-Americans to the U.S. Open Cup championship in 1994 and was named APSL Coach of the Year after leading the Atlanta Ruckus to the championship game in 1995, when the Ruckus' Doyle was named APSL Defender of the Year. Osiander also has coached locally with the Palo Alto Firebirds of the United States Interregional Soccer League, and he served as an assistant coach with the San Francisco Bay Blackhawks in the American Professional Soccer League and the California Surf in the North American Soccer League. Born Nov. 8, 1939, in Munich, Germany, Osiander moved to the United States in 1958. He graduated from Mission High School in San Francisco, attended San Francisco City College and played collegiately for the famed Steve Negoesco at the University of San Francisco. Osiander, who lives in Pleasant Hill, majored in both physical education and modern languages at USF and is fluent in English, German and Spanish. A U.S. citizen since 1965, he is the father of two grown sons.
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