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Who is John Thorrington, the architect behind LAFC’s title win?

Many talked about Bale during LAFC’s MLS Cup win, but John Thorrington is the man behind the victory.

Joe Brennan
¿Quién es John Thorrington, el arquitecto del título de LAFC?

Carlos Vela said it right before lifting the MLS Cup in LAFC’s dramatic victory over Philadelphia Union. “When I signed for LAFC, I didn’t even know there was a team here, then I arrived and it was exactly that, there was just one. There were moments when I asked myself if I knew what I was getting myself into”. That’s where John Thorrington comes in: a man who, with no experience in the field, managed to build a winning football team.

Five years after Carlos Vela became LAFC’s first signing, the club has finally become champion. Despite many people such as the Mexican himself (who became the fifth Mexican to life the trophy), Gareth Bale, Denis Bouanga or Ilie Sánchez have rightly turned out to be important cogs in the machine, none of their success would have been possible were it not for the architect behind them.

Thorrington had no experience as a general manager of a team when he signed up to LAFC as the first vice-president of the club. But since then he has shown a mixture of grit and talent, and his club have made history in North America.

Thorrington in 2022

Rather than just being tasked with surviving as an entity in the first seasons of such an unforgiving environment, Thorrington’s challenge was made greater when he allowed key figures such as Eduard Atuesta, Francisco Ginella, Mohamed Fall, Brian Rodríguez and Diego Rossi all to leave the club.

That was where his judgement came in and he risked it all so that the team survived, bringing in Ilie Sánchez, Kellyn Acosta, Maxime Grépeau, Ryan Hollingshead, Giorgio Chiellino, Gareth Bale and Denis Bouanga. Some feat when you consider that many of these players had a part to play in the MLS Cup victory.

Even his biggest criticism has paid off in the end. After legendary coach Bob Bradley’s exit in 2021, Thorrington gave an opportunity to Steve Cherundolo, a manager who was questioned by many fans at the time of his arrival, and curiously the player who was substituted off when Thorrington made his USMNT debut in 2001.


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