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Mondelo takes over Project-40; Smith, Manning are new general managers.

NEW YORK (Wednesday January 26, 2000) -- Former MetroStars coach Alfonso Mondelo was named Major League Soccer's director of player development and head coach of U.S. Pro-40 today.

Nelson Rodriguez, the MetroStars director of soccer operations the last two years, moves to the league office as MLS director of player personnel.

In addition to guiding the Project-40 players through the 2000 A-League season, Mondelo, 41, will pilot the scouting program for the 12 MLS clubs, including college, youth and the loaning and replacement of players between MLS and the United Soccer Leagues teams.

Mondelo, the third coach of U.S. Pro-40, has been involved in professional and youth coaching since 1981. "Major League Soccer has continued to emphasize the importance of developing America's top young talent through the Project-40 program," he said. "I am looking forward to the challenge of guiding these players to become MLS's rising professionals."

As head coach of the MetroStars in 1998, he guided the club to a 14-17 record and a berth into the playoffs before resigning with one game left in the regular season.

Prior to his MLS stint, Mondelo spent four successful seasons (1994-1997) at the helm of the A-League's Long Island Rough Riders (86-34-1). He won four consecutive North Atlantic Division titles, including the 1995 United Systems of Independent Soccer League’s Pro League championship. During his tenure with the Rough Riders, Mondelo won two USISL Divisional “Coach of the Year” awards (1994-1995) and was named the head coach of the USISL All-Stars in 1996.

A native of Baracaldo, Spain, Mondelo most recently served as a member of United States national team coach Bruce Arena's staff when the team finished third in the Confederations Cup. He also served as an instructor for the U.S. Soccer Federation's Coaching School, focusing on the Hispanic and minority programs.

Mondelo also worked at U.S. Soccer as a youth scout, spearheading the Region I (East) for the under-15 age group during 1999. He took the U.S. under-15 national team (now U-16s) to Mexico where the Americans posted a 2-1 record against the youth sides for Atlas, Chivas of Guadalajara and Delfinas.

Mondelo was also the technical director of the Eastern New York Soccer Association Olympic Development Program from 1989-1997.

He guided Puerto Rico through the 1994 World Cup elimination rounds against Jamaica and the Dominican Republic.

Born on August 13, 1958 and raised in Baracaldo, Spain, Mondelo moved to New York City when he was 13. In 1979, after two seasons with A.D. Torrejon of Spain's second division, his professional playing career was cut short by a knee injury.

He began his coaching career in 1981 with the New York Hota Bavarians. He guided the Hota Bavarians to four consecutive Final Four appearances (1990-1993) in the U.S. Amateur Cup before joining the Rough Riders.

Rodriguez will aid the MLS Player Department with labor issues, including scouting, player negotiations and input on competition concerns.

A 1987 Rutgers graduate, Rodriguez has more than 13 years of soccer experience at both the collegiate coaching and professional soccer development and operations levels. While with the MetroStars, Rodriguez assisted the general manager in player personnel matters, coordinated the club's efforts for the 1998 and 1999 drafts and tryouts, as well as worked as team administrator and on stadium matters.

A native from Manalapan, N.J., Rodriguez was head coach at Lafayette from 1995-1997. Under his direction, Lafayette made its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Division I Sweet 16 in 1995, the same year the team captured the Patriot League championship.

Rodriguez put time in with his alma mater as men’s assistant coach at Rutgers from 1992-1993 and with the women's program from 1987-1989.

From 1993-1994, Rodriguez was the assistant executive venue director at Giants Stadium for World Cup USA ‘94, acting as government liaison, and working on transportation, protocol and accreditation for the event.

Prior to the World Cup, he was the assistant media and public relations director for the New Jersey Devils of the National Hockey League in 1991 and director of media relations and operations of the Penn Jersey Spirit of the American Professional Soccer League in 1990.


Crew name Smith as general manager

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Jim Smith has been hired as the general manager of the Columbus Crew, replacing Jamey Rootes who leaves in February to join the National Football League's new team in Houston.

Smith, 34, will begin his duties with the Crew on February 14. He will be formally introduced to the media next Tuesday.

Smith joins tthe Crew after spending the last four years in Columbus as Ohio State University associate athletic director for marketing and communications.


Manning is Mutiny GM

TAMPA, Fla. -- Bill Manning, president and general manager of the A-League champion Minnesota Thunder, has accepted the general manager's vacancy with the Tampa Bay Mutiny, the Tampa Tribune reported.

Manning replaces Nick Sakiewicz, who last week took the same position with the MetroStars after three-and-a-half years in Tampa. Manning also was a finalist for the Columbus Crew general manager job.


Klopas retires

CHICAGO -- Chicago Fire forward Frank Klopas, the United States men’s national team fifth all-time leading goal scorer, has retired.

A native of Chicago, Klopas will stay with the Fire as strength and conditioning specialist, and will also be involved in many of the team's community affairs.

"It's very sad, having to say good-bye to a life-long career," said Klopas, 33. "I'm thankful for all my accomplishments as a player, but I'm also very excited about taking this next step, especially with a team and a city that holds a special place in my heart. I feel this is the right time to step away and help our young talent so that they, too, can fulfill their dreams."

Born in Athens, Greece, but a product of the Chicago school system, Klopas scored 12 goals in 40 appearances with the U.S.

Klopas joined the Fire on February 20, 1998 via a trade with the Columbus Crew. In his two seasons with Chicago, he registered six goals and five assists for 17 points in 40 appearances. He helped Chicago to its impressive "Double" championship during its 1998 inaugural season when he scored Chicago's first two goals at Soldier Field on April 4, 1998 against Tampa Bay, leading the team to a 2-0 victory in the Fire's inaugural home opener.

He scored his last goal in sudden-death overtime on October 30, 1998 against Columbus, helping Chicago capture the 1998 U.S. Open Cup with a 2-1 win at Soldier Field.

Before arriving in Chicago, Klopas spent the 1996 and 1997 MLS campaigns with the Kansas City Wizards, playing in 49 games and scoring seven goals and 11 assists for 25 points.

"Frankie's undying devotion to soccer is tremendous," said Fire general manager Peter Wilt. "His professionalism and overall attitude is encouraging and I'm delighted to bring a person of his status into our front office. We're excited with his new goals off the field and his commitment to the growth of the world's game here in Chicago."

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