Galaxy Hires Sampson As Coach

Aug. 18, 2004

CARSON, Calif. (AP) - The Los Angeles Galaxy hired former U.S. men's national team and Santa Clara University coach Steve Sampson on Wednesday, two days after firing Sigi Schmid.

The first-place Galaxy fired Schmid even though the team leads Major League Soccer with 34 points.

Sampson, 47, coached the national team to a 26-22-14 record from 1995-98. He resigned after the team lost all three of its games in the 1998 FIFA World Cup and finished last in the 32-team field.

Sampson was fired as coach of Costa Rica's men's national team June 21 after the team struggled in advancing past Cuba in World Cup qualifying. Sampson had been Costa Rica's coach since 2002.

Schmid's dismissal followed Saturday's scoreless tie against the Columbus Crew, which extended Los Angeles' winless streak to five games. The Galaxy scored just three goals during the 0-1-4 stretch.

Los Angeles (9-6-7) led Kansas City by two points in the Western Conference entering Wednesday.

"I think I'm a lot better coach today for my experience as a national team coach, through the qualifying process and the World Cup in France," Sampson said. "I think I bring a lot more to the table than I did when I was so young in 1995 when I accepted the (national team) job."

Sampson said Galaxy president and general manager Doug Hamilton did not contact him about becoming the team's coach before firing Schmid.

"Steve's experience and knowledge of the game will shape our team for the future and will provide us with an opportunity to win championships," Hamilton said. "We are confident in Steve's ability and are happy he has accepted the challenge."

Sampson said he was contacted by representatives of the MLS expansion franchise in Salt Lake City, but preferred to remain in Southern California.

Sampson will make his debut with the Galaxy on Saturday against the Chicago Fire. His team will travel to the South Bay to take-on the two-time MLS champion San Jose Earthqakes on Sept. 25 at 7 p.m.

The Galaxy also announced the dismissal of goalkeeper coach Zak Abdel and the hiring of Ignacio Hernandez, a former goalkeeper in Mexico's first and second divisions, as an assistant coach.