MLS Chivas USA Coaches File Suit Against Club Claiming They Were Fired As Non-Latinos
Former MLS Chivas USA youth coaches Daniel Calichman and Theothoros Chronopoulos on Tuesday filed a lawsuit in L.A. Superior Court "charging the team with discrimination, claiming they were fired earlier this year 'because they were neither Mexican nor Latino,'" according to Kevin Baxter of the L.A. TIMES. The complaint states that shortly after Chivas USA Owner Jorge Vergara and wife, Angelica Fuentes, "assumed sole ownership" of the team last summer, Vergara "told his staff that employees who did not speak Spanish would be fired." The complaint also stated that shortly after that, team President & Chief Business Officer Jose David "asked Chronopoulos to compile lists of Academy players and coaches who were Mexican or Mexican American and those that weren't." Both coaches "subsequently filed written complaints of discrimination and harassment" to team HR & Administration Manager Cynthia Craig. The complaint stated that Craig "did not follow through on a promise to investigate." The coaches said that Craig four months ago "asked both men to resign in exchange for two weeks of severance pay -- a request both men refused" (LATIMES.com, 5/29). In L.A., Phil Collin reports Chivas USA coach Jose Luis Sanchez Sola "was fired" last night, "barely one-third into his first season." The timing of the firing and the lawsuit "might be curious," but Chivas USA has "taken strange twists" under Vergara (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 5/30). Also in L.A., Nick Green notes since Vergara assumed ownership, team employees have "fled en masse and established players -- including many who are non-Latino -- have been replaced by Mexican imports, changing the complexion of the team and the organization." Calichman and Chronopoulos' lawsuit quotes Vergara as saying at a November meeting, "If you don't speak Spanish, you can go work for Galaxy, unless you speak Chinese, which is not even a language." Calichman, who coached the club's under-18 Academy team, said that the team "edict caused 'chaos' among parents" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 5/30).