Curt Onalfo has been functioning in the role of Revolution interim sporting director since late July. On Thursday, the Revolution removed the interim designation, naming Onalfo successor to Bruce Arena in that role.
Onalfo, 54, became the Revolution’s first hire after Arena was named sporting director/head coach in 2019. He acted as assistant coach, then took over as technical director, supervising the academy and Revolution II team.
Onalfo will be involved in “soccer operations, player personnel, scouting, and player development,” according to a team release.
Next for the Revolution will be naming a head coach to replace Arena, who resigned from the dual role in September after being placed on administrative leave by MLS in July. Richie Williams and Clint Peay were named interim head coaches as the Revolution finished the season in a tie for fourth place in the Eastern Conference and were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.
“I am grateful to the Kraft family and [team president] Brian Bilello for the trust they have put in me to guide this proud and historic MLS club into a new era of success on the field,” Onalfo said in a team release.
“Since I joined this club, I have dedicated myself fully to enhancing the club through every avenue available and will continue to commit all of my focus into building a winning on-field product for the Revolution and all of our supporters.”
Onalfo, born in Sao Paulo, grew up in Ridgefield, Conn., and played for Arena at the University of Virginia. He was a defender for the US in the 1989 FIFA U-20 Championship and 1992 Olympics before starting a professional career that lasted through 1999.
Onalfo competed for the Los Angeles Galaxy in the first MLS Cup final (3-2 overtime loss to D.C. United at Foxboro Stadium) and was a member of the D.C. United team that won the 1999 MLS Cup at Foxboro Stadium.
As an MLS coach, Onalfo compiled a 44-60-33 record with D.C. United, the Kansas City Wizards, and the Galaxy. He assisted Arena with the US national team from 2002-06 and with the Galaxy, winning the 2011, ‘12, and ‘14 MLS Cup titles.
The Revolution are expected to move quickly in announcing decisions involving coaching staff and roster. The league deadline for exercising contract options is Friday.
Among Onalfo’s first moves this week was completing a loan deal involving Argentine winger Tomas Chancalay, who was added to the permanent roster on a four-year contract. A total of 10 Revolution players will be in club option years, and three veterans — Gustavo Bou, Omar Gonzalez, and Lucas Maciel — are out of contract.
The Revolution finished the season with a 15-9-10 record (55 points), fourth-best in team history. But Onalfo and the new coach will have to reboot the Revolution, who collapsed after Arena’s departure, going 3-7-3 in the final two months of the season.
“Curt has done an outstanding job playing a leading role in our sporting operations for the last five seasons, helping rebuild the Revolution into a trophy contender at every level of our program from the first team through the academy,” Bilello said.
“The passion, energy, and expertise Curt brings to the organization, all demonstrated throughout his time with the club, make him the right person to lead our sporting operation moving forward as we continue building toward our ultimate goal of delivering trophies to our fans.”
Frank Dell'Apa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.