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LAFC Announces Steve Cherundolo As Head Coach

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Cherundolo, 42, earned the prestigious UEFA Pro License in 2020 after ending a distinguished playing career that saw him become a Bundesliga legend in Germany for Hannover 96, as he appeared in 415 total matches, setting a record for the most appearances by an American for one Club.

“I am honored to be named the head coach of LAFC,” Cherundolo said. “Having been a part of the Club for the past year, I was able to see firsthand that the fans, city, and organization are all very special. The foundation is strong, and I am committed to guiding us to success on and off the field. I can’t wait to get started.”

A Southern California native and 2021 inductee into the U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame, Cherundolo made 87 appearances for the U.S. National Team, including becoming one of 11 players in U.S. history to be named to three World Cup rosters (2002, 2006, 2010). Cherundolo played every minute at right back for the U.S. in the 2010 World Cup.

“We believe Steve is the right coach for LAFC at this important time in our history,” LAFC Lead Managing Owner Larry Berg said. “We have always had high expectations for our Club both on and off the field, and I know our incredible fans do as well. We have a talented group of players, and I am confident we are going to add even more exciting talent to that group very soon. We believe that Steve is the coach who will harness that talent, win important matches, and give our fans a team they are proud to support.”





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Axel Kei becomes youngest player to sign in MLS

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Axel Kai becomes youngest player to sign with MLS team. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

Freddy Adu is officially ancient history. Axel Kei, 14, signed with Real Salt Lake on Friday, becoming the youngest player to sign with an MLS team.

Kei, who turned 14 in December, broke Adu’s record by 153 days.

Adu signed with D.C. United in 2004. He was 14. Adu set a few age-related records with the team. He became the youngest player to appear in an MLS game and the younger player to score a goal during an MLS game. Adu set both records as a 14-year-old.

Real Salt Lake expects big things from Axel Kai

Kei, a 6-4 forward, will look to break both records with Real Salt Lake. The club has high expectations for Kei, with Real Salt Lake general manager Elliot Fall saying he believes Kei will be one of the league’s top scorers in time.

“Over the last year Axel has proven to be one of the top attacking prospects in the country. His propensity in front of goal is well beyond his years, and coupled with his elite athleticism, he projects to become a goal-scoring force in our league in the years to come.”

Kei, who was born in the Ivory Coast and raised in Brazil, is familiar with Real Salt Lake. He appeared on the team’s Academy U15 squad. Kei helped lead that team to its first-ever MLS Next Cup Championship last July. 

Kei is already used to setting age-related records. In October, Kei appeared as a substitute with the Real Monarchs. In doing so, he became “the youngest professional athlete in American team sports history,” per Real Salt Lake. Kei was 13 at the time of that appearance.

Oh, and in case you don’t feel old yet, Adu, now 32, signed his contract with D.C. United three years before Kei was born.

Real Salt Lake will open its season against Houston on Feb. 27.



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FC Dallas defender Justin Che headed to Hoffenheim – Loan-to-buy deal in place

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Return to Germany 

Six months after his loan at Bayern Munich expired, Justin Che appears to be on his way back to the Bundesliga. According to a report by the very reliable Sport 1 reporter Kerry Hau, the 18-year-old defender who has both a German and US passport is on the verge of joining Hoffenheim on an 18-month loan deal. Hoffenheim will have an option to make the deal permanent at any point during the loan. 

Bayern Munich were initially interested in a transfer, but Transfermarkt understands that interest cooled off in recent months due to Dallas’ negotiations tactics. As was the case with Ricardo Pepi, Dallas also preferred another destination. Pepi moved to Augsburg earlier this winter in a deal worth $18 million, including various performance-based incentives and a percentage of any future fee. Those sorts of incentives would have been more challenging to reach with Bayern. 

Che returns to Germany after spending the 2020/21 season in Germany. The Dallas academy product returned to Major League Soccer in June and played 15 games (three assists). Che can play both as center-back and as a right-back and will pair up with US compatriot Chris Richards at Hoffenheim. 

Pepi, Reynolds, Richards & Co.: FC Dallas record sales

Thiago Santos | To Grêmio in 2021 | Fee: $1.1m

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Chris Richards | To Bayern Munich in 2019 | Fee: $1.21m

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Juan Carlos Toja | To Steaua Bukarest in 2008 | Fee: $1.65m

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Anton Nedyalkov | To Ludogorets in 2018 | Fee: $2.2m

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Reggie Cannon | To Boavista in 2020 | Fee: 2.75m

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Fabián Castillo | To Trabzonspor in 2017 | Fee: $3m

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Loan fee and transfer fee combined.

Brek Shea | To Stoke City in 2013 | Fee: $3.3m

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Tanner Tessmann | To Venezia FC in 2021 | Fee: $4m

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Carlos Gruezo | To FC Augsburg in 2019 | Fee: $4.4m

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Bryan Reynolds | To AS Roma in 2021 | Fee: $7.43m

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Previously on loan

Ricardo Pepi | To FC Augsburg in 2022 | Fee: $18m

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Toronto FC’s GoalMachine takes home eMLS League Series One title

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It was a historic performance for the Toronto man, who just signed as the Reds’ eMLS representative in December and was making his debut appearance on the circuit. With the victory, he delivered Toronto FC’s first eMLS final appearance and championship in club history.

He got everything he could handle in the final from PauloNeto999, who had a 3-2 aggregate lead in the 88th minute of the second leg, only to see GoalMachine strike for a clutch late equalizer to force extra time.





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