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Earthquakes name Chris Leitch GM, removing ‘interim’ tag

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The San Jose Earthquakes took the “interim” tag off Chris Leitch’s job title and installed him as their general manager, the MLS team announced on Monday.

Leitch, who has been in the interim GM role since July, when he replaced Jesse Fioranelli, has been with the team since joining as a player in 2009. In 2015, Leitch was named the Earthquakes’ technical director.

“This club has been my family since 2009 and I’m passionate about the project we have underway, Leitch said in a team-issued statement. “While the 2021 season didn’t end how we wanted, we’re entering an important offseason to rebuild and put a competitive team on the field for our fans to support.”

San Jose (10-13-11, 41 points) finished in 10th place in the Western Conference this year, seven points out of a playoff spot.

One of the major decisions on Leitch’s plate will be to assess the future of head coach Matias Almeyda, who has just one year left on his contract. Player contract decisions will also be decided soon, and the team must replace the league’s all-team leading scorer, Chris Wondolowski, who announced his retirement at the season’s end.

Designated player Eduardo “Chofis” Lopez, who is on loan from Liga MX’s Chivas, might be extended for another six months or the Quakes could allow him to return to Mexico.

As the interim GM, Leitch negotiated a blockbuster trade to acquire forward Jeremy Ebobisse from the Portland Timbers for more than $1 million in general allocation money.

San Jose chief operating officer Jared Shawlee said in the release said of retaining Leitch as GM, “Our objective was to find a candidate with significant MLS knowledge, a track record of player development, and thoughtful use of data to make informed decisions. In addition to checking every box, Chris has been a proven leader for our club in a variety of roles over the past 13 years.”

–Field Level Media

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