More changes are happening in San Jose after the Earthquakes announced they are parting ways with head coach Dominic Kinnear and assistant coach John Spencer this afternoon. San Jose is 6-5-6 this season and 27-31-27 since Kinnear’s second stint with the club beginning in 2015. This season the Quakes are averaging just one goal a game and are fifth in the Western Conference, though both the LA Galaxy and Vancouver Whitecaps have played fewer matches.
GM Jesse Fioranelli had this to say about the move:
First and foremost, we would like to thank Dominic for his hard work, professionalism and contributions to this club over the years. He worked hard this year and was a first-class person all the way. This decision was made after a lot of thought and evaluation. We decided that we wanted to go in a different direction as we continue to build the identity of this club.
The club named Chris Leitch as head coach and Alex Covolo as assistant. Leitch retired as a player in 2011 after spending nine seasons in MLS with three in San Jose. He has had multiple positions with the club throughout the years including academy director, technical director, and interim general manager.
Leitch was essential in building relationships with Burlingame Dragons FC and Reno 1868 FC giving the Earthquakes a direct pipeline of talent through the U.S. Soccer pyramid. He had this to say after being hired as head coach:
It has been an honor to work with Dominic for the past two and a half years. I am grateful to have an opportunity to coach at this club. I am looking forward to getting onto the field and working with this great group of players and staff. Our immediate goal is to make the playoffs this year and we can definitely accomplish that if we all work hard together.
After four straight seasons of missing the playoffs, it comes as little surprise that Kinnear was fired. The club improved little over that span and with Fioranelli being hired as GM this off-season, it was clear the club is changing direction.
It appears as the fans are on board with the change as well as Twitter reactions were mainly positive about the move.
Twitter: When your Sunday gets better!! San Jose part ways with Dominic Kinnear, name Chris Leitch head coach https://t.co/pDRsQ90xUS (@luzzarely92)
The Earthquakes are back in action on Wednesday to face the Seattle Sounders in the U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinals.