June 24, 2024

LAFC is set to appoint Neil McGuinness, currently serving as the director of scouting for the Columbus Crew, as their new technical director, according to sources familiar with the agreement reported by The Athletic.

McGuinness will assume the role of second-in-command at LAFC, operating under the leadership of chief soccer officer and co-president John Thorrington. Known for his adept talent-spotting abilities, McGuinness will take on an expanded set of responsibilities within the organization.

Having joined the Crew in 2019 after departing from his position as a senior scout at Scottish club Celtic, McGuinness played a pivotal role in persuading the club to sign Virgil van Dijk. During his tenure in Columbus, McGuinness contributed significantly to revamping the team’s roster, which resulted in two MLS Cup victories (2020, 2023).

Crew's head of scouting is a man of the world

Despite LAFC’s loss to the Crew in the MLS Cup last season, McGuinness’s move signifies a new chapter for him as he transitions to a club with ambitious goals. Additionally, the Crew’s current participation in the CONCACAF Champions Cup final underscores McGuinness’s impact on their success as they vie to secure the trophy, aiming to become the second MLS club to do so in recent history.

During McGuinness’ tenure as the director of scouting in Columbus, the club successfully acquired notable players such as Cucho Hernandez, Darlington Nagbe, Lucas Zelarayan, Diego Rossi, and Steven Moreira, all of whom have made significant contributions to the team.

Another candidate considered for the position was Andy Howe, currently serving as the assistant head of first-team recruitment at Newcastle. Howe, aged 29, has been making strides in the front office of Newcastle, particularly as they secured qualification for the Champions League ahead of the current season. His involvement has been instrumental in Newcastle’s signings of players like Bruno Guimar√£es, Anthony Gordon, Alexander Isak, among others, in recent seasons.

Howe is highly regarded within the industry and is anticipated to be a contender for future positions across MLS.

LAFC’s previous second-in-command was Will Kuntz, who departed and eventually joined the rival LA Galaxy. Additionally, Marco Garces, the director of football operations, left the club this winter to join Celta Vigo. Most recently, David Kammarman, a global scout, also parted ways with the club to assume a role with the New England Revolution.

McGuinness will join LAFC ahead of an anticipated busy summer transfer window, during which the club aims to bolster its squad. The signing of French football legend Olivier Giroud has already been confirmed, as reported by The Athletic, but LAFC is expected to be active in further recruitment beyond Giroud’s acquisition.

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