Sports

LA Galaxy hires Peter Vagenas as GM, replacing Bruce Arena

CARSON, Calif. — Peter Vagenas replaced Bruce Arena as the LA Galaxy's general manager on Monday.

Galaxy President Chris Klein promoted Vagenas, the captain of the Galaxy's 2005 MLS championship team. Vagenas will be involved in the search for a coach to replace Arena, who was the Galaxy's coach and GM while leading the club to three MLS Cup titles.

Arena returned to the U.S. national team last week.

"Pete has been part of this club since its early years and embodies everything the Galaxy stands for," said Klein, Vagenas' teammate with the Galaxy for two seasons.

Vagenas also will remain the Galaxy's vice-president of soccer operations, his job since January. The Los Angeles-area native and UCLA graduate became the director of the LA Galaxy Academy in 2013 after playing nine of his 13 MLS seasons with the Galaxy, winning two MLS Cups.

"Not only does he have a deep affection for the LA Galaxy and knows what we're about, but he also knows what we've been building," Klein said. "I'm confident in the value that he brings to the club in understanding us, and also understanding the league rules and how we can best build a team that can be successful."

Klein and Vagenas will be in charge of charting the future for the Galaxy, who face major changes after the departures of Arena, Robbie Keane and Steven Gerrard over the past month.

Klein intends to have a coach in place before 2017, but the Galaxy also are plotting personnel moves to bolster their roster after finishing sixth in the MLS table and losing in the Western Conference semifinals.

Klein confirmed LA Galaxy II coach Curt Onalfo is the only internal candidate for the job, but the club plans to interview at least one international coach. Former Galaxy coach Sigi Schmid, another UCLA product, also could be a candidate, Klein said.

"A coach has to have a belief not only in our club, but in our league," Klein said. "There are a number of bright soccer minds around the world that could easily translate what they do to our league, but they have to believe in it."

The Galaxy are known for their high-profile signings of international stars, from David Beckham and Keane to Gerrard and Giovani Dos Santos. Yet they've also invested in player development while producing a series of homegrown contributors in recent years, including Gyasi Zardes and defender Daniel Steres.

Klein plans to continue that two-pronged approach to success after the departures of Keane and Gerrard, but the Galaxy still have the core of an MLS contender built around Dos Santos, Zardes, Sebastian Lletget and a strong back line led by Jelle Van Damme. Landon Donovan also might extend his comeback for another season.

While praising their returning players, Klein indicated the Galaxy will attempt to be active in the international transfer market this winter with two designated player slots open.

"We have the resources, the backing from (owner) AEG, to continue aggressively in this manner," Klein said.