LAFC Sees Organizational Changes in 2020
August 20, 2020
As the Los Angeles Football Club prepares for the eighth edition of El Trafico against the L.A. Galaxy at Banc of California Stadium starting at 3:00 p.m. this Saturday, August 22, there was a major change in the front office as well as a couple of significant roster moves in the past week.
Gone is Club President Tom Penn and fan-favorite forward Dio (Adama Diomande). Coming aboard is Mohamed Traora, and 18-year old defender from Senegal. Penn's departure will have no effect on the field for El Trafico 8, and Dio's absence is minimized by the surprisingly quick rejuvenation and scoring threat of veteran forward Bradley Wright-Phillips, signed earlier this year.
This Tuesday, August 18, LAFC announced that Tom Penn had stepped away from his duties as Club President to become the CEO of Co.Protect, a business venture he co-founded that provides protective equipment to Major League Soccer, including LAFC, and other sports leagues, companies and municipal organizations.
"We are grateful to Tom for his tremendous contributions to LAFC and we wish him good luck as he moves on to his new ventures," said LAFC Lead Managing Owner Larry Berg. "From the beginning, Tom had a clear vision of what LAFC would mean to the city of Los Angeles and it is incredible to see that dream being realized."
"The tremendous success that the Club has achieved is a result of the strength and quality of the team Tom assembled, and I am confident that he is leaving the organization in a position to accomplish even greater things in the near future."
Penn responded: "I am eternally grateful for my time as LAFC President and this once in a lifetime opportunity to co-create LAFC with so many wonderful people. It has been an honor and privilege to partner with LAFC's amazing ownership group. I am so thankful for the talent, passion and commitment of LAFC's employees who dedicate their lives to the Club's mission to unite, bring joy and be a force for good.
"John Thorrington and Larry Freedman are two of the most talented executives in pro sports, and I am certain LAFC will thrive. I will continue to assist the Club in any way that I can, and my wife Melissa and I remain Black & Gold forever in support of LAFC."
Last week LAFC agreed to mutually to part ways with Diomande due to personal considerations. Thorrington stated: "Dio made us aware of a personal situation he is dealing with, and together we were able to work out a solution for both parties. We wish him all the best and are thankful for everything he helped us accomplish in Los Angeles."
Dio sent a heartfelt post through his twitter account: "With the many family priorities in my life, I have decided to terminate my contract with immediate effect in order to best care for my loved ones. Although I will miss everyone at Los Angeles Football Club, I have put a lot of thought into this decision and have come to the conclusion that it will be best for all parties."
"I would like to thank the club for my understanding and our enthusiastic fans. From the bottom of my hear I will never forget this valuable experiences and moments that we shared on and off the field. Stay safe and best wishes for the remainder of the season. LA is Black and Gold. Your sincerely, Dio."
Last week LAFC traded up to access the top spot in the MLS Waiver Order. This past Monday they used that asset to sign Traore, who arrives form the Soccer Institute of Montverde Academy in Orlando, Florida. A central defender, Traore helped his former club Montverde to a 21-4-1 record while assisting on seven goals. He also appeared with Senegal's U-17 National Team in 2019.
The El Trafico derby is now all-even at two wins, two losses and three ties as LAFC squared the series by dominating the L.A. Galaxy in their last two matches. The Black and Gold eliminated and buried the ghost of a Zlaten Ibrahimovic-led Galaxy squad, 5-3, last October to advance to the MLS Western Conference Final. LAFC forward and reigning league MVP Carlos Vela scored two goals and set up teammate forward Diego Rossi's tie-breaking goal.
With Vela choosing to not play in the recent MLS is Back Tournament in Florida due to his wife's pregnancy, Rossi stepped up his game and scored a record four tournament goals in a single match as LAFC exposed and dismantled the Galaxy one month ago, 6-2. Rossi ended the tournament with the Golden Boot award with seven total goals, earned the MLS is Back Young Player of the Tournament, and was named on the MLS is Back Tournament Best XI team.
Adding to the Galaxy's woes, Vela, dubbed 'El Rey' by LAFC's fervent fan base, will be on the pitch for this Saturday's match. And stranger than fiction but completely expected during the current virus pandemic, the Banc will be devoid of fans, including the now-famous LAFC supporters group, The 3252.