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Chivas USA hires Robin Fraser as coach

Former U.S. national team defender replaces Martin Vasquez, who was fired Oct. 27. Fraser was an assistant with Real Salt Lake for four years.

January 04, 2011|By Grahame L. Jones

Taking a significant step toward righting a badly listing ship, Chivas USA on Tuesday announced that former U.S. national team defender Robin Fraser will be its new coach.

Fraser, 44, fills the void left when Martin Vasquez was dismissed Oct. 27 as coach by the Major League Soccer club, after failing to reach the playoffs and for reportedly refusing to replace one of his assistants.

Since then, Shawn Hunter, the club's chief executive, and Stephen Hamilton, its vice president of soccer operations, quit their respective posts.

Fraser becomes the sixth coach in Chivas USA's six-year history, following Thomas Rongen, Hans Westerhof, Bob Bradley, Preki and Vasquez.

He joins Chivas USA after four years as an assistant at Real Salt Lake, which won the MLS title in 2009 and compiled an ongoing 33-game unbeaten streak at home in all competitions.

During his 10-year, 260-game playing career in MLS, the Jamaican-born Fraser was regarded as one of the most elegant defenders in the league. He was the first player drafted by the Galaxy in the league's inaugural season in 1996 and was a five-time MLS All-Star. He was the league's defender of the year in 1999 and 2004.

He played for the Galaxy, the Colorado Rapids and the Columbus Crew in the MLS, and played 27 games for the U.S. national team between 1988 and 2001. He also played for the Miami Sharks and Colorado Foxes before the launch of MLS.

His longtime friend and former Galaxy teammate, Greg Vanney, is expected to be his top assistant at Chivas USA.

Fraser, who will be introduced at the Home Depot Center on Wednesday afternoon, was not available for comment Tuesday.

"He tends to look at the game from an Xs and O's tactical standpoint and a team-shape standpoint in a very sophisticated manner," Garth Lagerway, Real Salt Lake's general manager, told MLSSoccer.com. "The biggest adjustment he'll have is what kind of leadership style is he going to use. He's a little quieter, but he has a presence about him."

Fraser takes over a Chivas USA team that finished in last place in the Western Conference last season with an 8-14-4 record. Among his immediate tasks will be to prepare for the MLS draft Jan. 13.

Chivas USA begins the 2011 season at home against Sporting Kansas City on March 19.

grahame.jones@latimes.com

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