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The Daily Wave: Cult Of Chelis

The first two team MLS market is not really going to plan with the Chivas USA experiment clearly failing. Why do people like the goats head coach El Chelis so much? Is he a transformational leader? Or just a influential speaker?

The stands still look like this even with the influential El Chelis.
The stands still look like this even with the influential El Chelis.

Jose Luis Sanchez Sola, more commonly known as El Chelis, is somewhat a mystery of a coach to me. The most I ever paid attention to Chivas USA was when Brad Guzan played for them, but was quickly sold for a profit for the league to Aston Villa. Then a few years later season ticket holder numbers came out for 2010. The number was about 250. The Goats regularly sell half the season tickets of the next closest team in the league.

But something changed when I watched the Colorado Rapids play in Las Vegas in the pre-season. Chivas won and the fans stormed the field. I joked that this was the greatest victory in the history of the Chivas franchise but was corrected by a friend who said that the fans are mobbing the coach. So when I did research and found out his only accomplishment was getting a team promoted to the Mexican first division. I was doubly intrigued. After watching some local news pieces about him I understood why.

Just like Phillip Seymour Hoffmans character in the movie the master, he is a masterful public speaker. But it might be all he can do. Chelis regularly leaves the field before the half-time whistle with a disgusted look on his face. He probably uses that time to get his speech polished or his voice warmed up for the yelling he does at halftime. During the last Rapids-Chivas match up the announcers said that all of the goals Chivas scored had come in the second half, or after El Chelis had a talk to his team. Is it that he is a great motivator? Or are his players scared of him? The Rapids won the first match between the two sides on a missed penalty by Jose Correa and a penalty make by DeShorn Brown.

So why the cult like following? Dynamic public speakers don't come along very often. Steve Jobs press conferences were legendary. After George W, anybody sounds good but then Congressman Obama's speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention started his monumental rise to the White House. Say what you will about Obama but you have to admit that he is a great orator. Maybe a better job for Chelis is to be a freelance public speaker or a military general. Which if Carlos Slim buys the Chivas brand could transfer Chelis within his corporation to give motivational speeches or make him his private military leader. That guy has his own private military! Or he could go the movie the master route and start his own religion. It has happened before. I say this because he rarely stays anywhere longer than two years in a managerial position. After this weekend Chivas USA visits Dicks Sporting Goods again August 12th. So we get to see this enigma of a person twice this year. The Rapids are adding extra seats for the game this weekend which might be to see Chelis. But with a result this weekend the Rapids make the month of May undefeated. So maybe the cult of Chelis is growing here in Colorado but I doubt it. Am I in the cult of El Chelis? No, but I'm watching from a distance.