San Jose Earthquakes Sign a Big Stahre

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GOTHENBURG, SWEDEN - OCTOBER 29: Mikael Stahre, head coach before the Allsvenskan match between BK Hacken and Kalmar FF at Bravida Arena on October 29, 2017 in Gothenburg, Sweden. (Photo by Robin Aron/Ombrello via Getty Images)

Editorial (November 26, 2017)After several days of rumors and speculation, the San Jose Earthquakes officially announced the signing of Mikael Stahre (Michael Star-eh) as the team’s new head coach. Stahre replaces Chris Leitch, who the team announced will be returning to his role as technical director.

San Jose Earthquakes Sign a Big Stahre

The move comes as a bit of a surprise, as Stahre’s name was not mentioned in the early days of the San Jose Earthquakes coaching search. Many expected Leitch to remain at the helm, while San Francisco Deltas’ head man Marc Dos Santos was also mentioned as a possibility.

However Stahre boasts some excellent qualifications, coming off a season in which he took Swedish club BK Hacken to a fourth place finish (after finishing 10th a season ago). He has also won the Swedish Cup twice, and won both the cup and the Swedish League Championship in 2009 with AIK. Where Stahre goes, silverware and success follow quickly.

Quakes fans should be thrilled, as Stahre has the potential to be yet another fantastic signing for GM Jesse Fioranelli, who has done a tremendous job since taking over as the head of the Quakes front office last year.

When the team announced that Leitch would be taking over midway through last season, he was not given an interim title, leading many to believe Fioranelli would be sticking with him beyond the end of the season. However Fioranelli clearly recognized that Leitch was not going to be able to take this team to the next level, and to the relief of San Jose fans, decided to go in a different direction.

Stahre is an instant upgrade from Leitch, and may prove to even be an improvement over Kinnear. Neither coach was able to fix the team’s problems on the road, leading to an abysmal 3-12-2 away record last season, as well as a negative 21 goal differential.

Fioranelli was wise to finish the team’s coaching search before the MLS Cup Final, as both men will now have the entire season to get to work, shoring up deficiencies along the back line, and ensuring the return of striker Danny Hoesen on a long term deal. Time will tell if Stahre is the right man to lead a new chapter of San Jose Earthquakes history, but right now, Quakes fans have a reason to be beaming.

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Thomas is a Bay Area based sports play-by-play announcer with a focus on soccer. In the spring of 2017 Thomas called games for both the East Bay FC Stompers and Napa Valley 1839 FC in the NPSL. He has previously served as a Premier League Blogger, and supports both Everton and the San Jose Earthquakes.

Full disclosure: Thomas was a paid member of the Earthquakes Game Day staff in the summer of 2016. He is and was not privy to any private front office information regarding the team, and parted ways with the organization on the most positive of terms to pursue opportunities in play by play.

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