John Galas, the Portland Thorns' assistant coach and first hire after Cindy Parlow Cone during the frantic push to build and field a team in just a few short months as the NWSL came together, has been hired away to serve as the first ever head coach of Lane United FC, a USL PDL club based out of Eugene.
Galas, who was an integral part of Cone's efforts to construct a squad that could compete for a title in the first year of the NWSL, will now be tasked with building his own squad as Lane United prepare for their first year in the PDL.
"We were very fortunate to have John for our inaugural season. He contributed greatly to our ability to win the championship in his role as my main assistant coach as he worked tirelessly on scouting, video editing, and of course, coaching throughout the year. I know it was a difficult decision for him to leave the Thorns, but I wish him the best of luck in Eugene as they are lucky to have him," said Cone about her former assistant.
The Portland Timbers also lost out with the departure of Galas, as he was the team's performance analyst in addition to his duties with the Thorns.
Galas will finish out the month with the organization before officially taking over his duties as head coach of Lane United on October 1st.
The Thorns' press release:
THORNS FC ASSISTANT COACH JOHN GALAS APPOINTED SPORTING DIRECTOR, HEAD COACH OF LANE UNITED FC
Galas accepts new position with USL Premier Development League club
PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland Thorns FC and Lane United FC today announced that Thorns FC assistant coach John Galas has been appointed as the sporting director and head coach of the Eugene-based United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League (PDL) club. Galas officially will begin his new position on Oct. 1.
Lane United FC is the newest member of the PDL and will begin play in the 2014 season in the Northwest Division alongside MLS-affiliated clubs like the Portland Timbers U-23s, Sounders FC U-23 and Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23.
"On behalf of the entire Thorns FC organization, I’d like to sincerely thank John for his contributions to the club during an incredibly successful first season, and we wish him all the best in his new position with Lane United FC," said Gavin Wilkinson, general manager of the Portland Timbers and Thorns FC.
Galas, 41, helped guide Thorns FC to the inaugural National Women's Soccer League championship as the team's main assistant coach.
"This is a tremendous opportunity," Galas said. "Leaving an organization and a champion like Thorns FC was a very difficult decision. In the end, bringing my family back to Eugene where both my kids were born and given the privilege and responsibility of leading LUFC was too much to pass up."
A former director of goalkeeping with the Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy from 2010-12, Galas is a 1997 graduate of the University of Oregon and a one-time assistant coach for the Oregon women's soccer team (2003-04). He was the associate head coach of the University of Arizona women's soccer team from 2007-09 and also held an assistant coaching post with the Florida State University women's soccer team from 2000-02. On the men's side, Galas spent the 2006 season as an assistant coach and director of soccer operations for the second-division Portland Timbers.