The Kansas City Wizards announced Thursday that Octavio Zambrano is joining the team’s coaching staff.
Zambrano, a former MLS Head Coach with the second-best winning percentage in League history, will serve as an assistant coach under Manager Peter Vermes.
Kerry Zavagnin, Zoran Savic and John Pascarella will remain on the technical staff as assistant coaches.
“We worked to add an assistant coach with head coaching experience,” Wizards President Robb Heineman said. “Octavio (Zambrano) has excellent knowledge of our League and the international game. His presence will allow Peter Vermes to focus both on day-to-day coaching of the team and player personnel decisions more easily.”
Zambrano, 51, was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador, where he lived before moving to the United States in 1980 to attend Chapman University. Zambrano is fluent in both English and Spanish. He also speaks Italian, Russian and Portuguese. Zambrano played for Ecuador’s U-20 National Team and First Division club Union Deportiva Valdez before starring at Chapman University in the U.S. Zambrano then played professionally for the Los Angeles Lazers in the USISL before becoming a coach.
Zambrano was a Head Coach in MLS for both the Los Angeles Galaxy and New York/New Jersey MetroStars, coaching 143 games and winning three division championships over six seasons. Zambrano went 80-55-8 as a head coach, including a 32-18-0 record in Los Angeles and a 48-37-8 record in New York. Zambrano coached some of the best players in MLS history, including Paul Caligiuri, Robin Fraser, Carlos Hermosillo, Eduardo Hurtado, Cobi Jones, Clint Mathis, Welton, Tim Howard, Lothar Matthaus and Tab Ramos.
"This is a great opportunity to return to MLS and join an organization with such a strong vision," Zambrano said. "I anxiously await coming to Kansas City to start working with the team and preparing for the 2010 season."
Zambrano’s teams are known for playing fast-paced, attacking soccer. In 1998, the Zambrano-led Galaxy scored a League-record 85 goals in 32 games (2.65 goals/game) and posted the most wins and best winning percentage in League history (24-8-0, .750). In 2000, Zambrano’s New York scored 64 goals in 32 games (2.00 goals/game), the 8th most goals in League history by a club in one season. Zambrano also served as Head Coach of CS Tiligul-Tiras Tiraspol of Moldova from 2006-2008 and FC Tatabánya of Hungary from 2008-2009.
Zambrano holds “A” coaching licenses in the United States as well as in Europe, and is also an innovator in youth player development, having developed the first soccer academy in Major League Soccer with the MetroStars. He also founded and coached the Latino-based LA Salsa U-19 team to the finals of the McGuire Cup, the top youth competition in the United States.