Tuesday, January 28, 2014
FULLERTON, Calif. — The Los Angeles Blues are pleased to announce the hiring of Jon Spencer as the club’s new General Manager. Spencer brings a wealth of experience, including as a key figure with former PDL club the Orange County Blue Star, which saw a number of recent top MLS players come through its ranks over the years.
We sat down with Spencer to discuss his new role, and his vision for the Blues as they prepare for the 2014 USL PRO season.
Q: What did you do previously?
A: I joined the Blues in 2013, primarily to evaluate the club. I was previously GM and manager of the Orange County Blue Star of the PDL. I also currently coach Servite High School in Anaheim.
Q: What enticed you about joining the Blues organization?
A: I’ve been involved in professional soccer for about 6 years in the scouting and managing side, evaluating players and seeing their potential. While managing the OC Blue Star, I gained a lot of experience on how the Orange County market works and its potential. I ran into Ali Mansouri, the owner, at the 2013 MLS All-Star Game and told him he has great opportunity to build something in Orange County that can be a long standing professional team recognized internationally. I felt intrigued. There is a niche the Blues can hold in the U.S. soccer market and specifically in Southern California. We obviously have two professional clubs, LA Galaxy and Chivas USA, but I feel that this club could establish itself as a developing club to the top tier in MLS, but at the same time also be attractive to international clubs.
Q: What are your goals for the Blues?
A: First and foremost, we want to win the championship this year. I’m hoping that we can put a top product on the field that can a win a championship. We also want to create a niche as a club, and be recognized for being able to develop players. I want MLS and other leagues to be able to identify the talent as we help them progress in their career.
Q: What excites you about the Blues playing in Orange County?
A: I have a long history here. I went to school at UC Irvine. After graduating, I played in Kansas City for a bit, also played a season with the Orange County Blue Star. During that time many famous players, some who are still playing today were on the team. I was the midfielder, Jurgen Klinsmann played on the team, Matt Taylor , who currently plays in Germany, Robbie Rogers was about 16 years old, and a number of other guys. I have a passion for talent in Orange County. We are very rich in youth development, and a lot of top national team players have come through Orange County and Southern California. I love the beach and the weather. There is an opportunity to create a club that is recognized not only here in Orange County, but nationally and internationally as well.
Q: What characteristics do you value most when signing new players?
A: We’re definitely looking for players who are trying to progress in their career. We want to be a club that’s young and energetic, but full of potential, and able to reach that potential throughout the season.
Q: What do you expect from the starting line-up?
A: We’re going to have a mix of some USL PRO veterans, some guys that have MLS experience, and some up-and-coming players who will hopefully be playing at a much higher level in the future. I expect that we’ll be able to compete with anyone.
Q: Can you describe how you and Coach Yazdani will work together throughout the season?
A: Coach Daryoush Yazdani joined the coaching staff midway through last season, so I’m excited that he will start from scratch with a pre-season this year. He’s really adamant about seeing our team grow. We identified a few areas where we felt we could improve, and he’s really excited about being able to implement that going into this season. We both want our team to compete for a championship this year.
Q: Anything you’d like to say to the fans?
A: We hope that our fans are able to come enjoy a great family atmosphere, watch some entertaining soccer, and see our team compete for a USL PRO championship. We want to have a professional soccer environment in Orange County. Our club is going show the world that Orange County has a viable, strong, fun, professional soccer club.
Our club has made a lot of exciting new developments. I’m very excited about our new brand, and what we’re going to bring in 2014. We want to make the steps in Orange County to be a home for people who want to watch professional soccer in their backyard, we want to the place that they want to go. Hope everyone comes out and watches us play!