SECAUCUS, N.J. (Monday, November 29, 1999) The MetroStars of Major League Soccer have selected Octavio Zambrano as the club's new head coach, it was announced today by vice president and general manager Charlie Stillitano.
Zambrano, 41, was most recently coach at Los Angeles Galaxy, where he compiled a league record of 39-18 record between 1997 and 1999. His .684 winning percentage as a head coach is the highest in MLS history.
Born in Guayaquil, Ecuador, Zambrano has encouraged attack-minded soccer throughout his coaching career. His 1998 Los Angeles team shattered the MLS record for goals scored with 85, while his defense allowed only 44. The 1998 Galaxy team finished with the best record (24-8) and the most points (68) of any team in league history.
"The search to find a new head coach was exhaustive, but this organization believes that we've found the very best candidate for the job," Stillitano said of his newest appointment. "In Octavio we have a coach who has proven he can win in this league and play attractive soccer, and a man who has an outstanding track record of uncovering young talent."
Zambrano began his playing career at the age of 17, playing for the Ecuadorian National Junior Team. At 18, he launched his professional career in Ecuador's First Division with Union Deportiva Valdez, before moving to the United States on a soccer scholarship from Southern California's Chapman University, where he was voted the team's rookie of the year in 1980.
Following his collegiate career, Zambrano played two seasons with the Los Angeles Lazers of the Major Indoor Soccer League. He then went on to serve as player/coach for the Galactica Soccer Club in the Greater Los Angeles League before being named assistant coach and director of player development for the California Emperors of the Western Soccer League in 1990. In 1992 Zambrano performed dual roles, acting as assistant coach for the Los Angeles Salsa (APSL) and serving as head coach of the USISL Los Angeles Cobras, where he was later selected Western Division Coach of the Year in 1994.
"This is certainly an exceptional opportunity, and I embrace the challenges that lie ahead," Zambrano commented. "Outside the U.S. National Team job, I consider this the premier coaching opportunity in the United States."
Zambrano's new contract will take effect on Saturday, January 1, 2000.