San Jose Earthquakes name Chris Leitch as permanent General Manager

Chris Leitch becomes General Manager for San Jose Earthquakes
Chris Leitch becomes General Manager for San Jose Earthquakes / Lyndsay Radnedge/ISI Photos/GettyImages

The San Jose Earthquakes have confirmed Chris Leitch as their official general manager, the club confirmed Monday.

Leitch acted as interim GM since July, but has now become the team’s permanent choice.

He has been with the Earthquakes since 2009, first as a player before transitioning to a coaching position and ultimately named technical director in 2015. San Jose parted ways with former GM Jesse Fioranelli in July, calling Leitch to lead their soccer operations in the meantime. 

“I couldn’t be more excited for this opportunity,” said Leitch in a club release. 

“This club has been my family since 2009 and I’m passionate about the project we have underway. While the 2021 season didn’t end how we wanted, we’re entering an important offseason to rebuild and put a competitive team on the field for our fans to support.”

After becoming interim GM, Leitch negotiated the blockbuster trade to acquire forward Jeremy Ebobisse from Portland Timbers for $1.167 million General Allocation Money.

The Earthquakes also traded defender Florian Jungwirth to the Vancouver Whitecaps. 

“I’m thrilled to continue working with Chris in his new role,” said Earthquakes chief operating officer Jared Shawlee. 

“Our objective was to find a candidate with significant MLS knowledge, a track record of player development, and thoughtful use of data to make informed decisions. In addition to checking every box, Chris has been a proven leader for our club in a variety of roles over the past 13 years.”

The team ended the 2021 season in 10th place on the Western Conference table, missing out on the MLS Cup playoffs. 

Now, Leitch faces a number of big decisions, including end-of-season contract decisions. The General Manager must also seal the fate of head coach Matias Almeyada, who has just one year left on his contract. 

Also up for debate is the future of Designated Player Eduardo "Chofis" Lopez, who is on loan from Liga MX's Chivas. The San Jose Earthquakes can choose to extend the loan another six months or trigger a purchase clause.