Since February of 2024, I have had the privilege of working with USL championship side, Las Vegas Lights FC. It has been a super enriching experience working with some quality people and a new owner, setting the tone for higher standards. It is amazing how most encounters in life end up having an impact on us and what we do.

Back in October of 2023, I visited Austin FC, their High-Performance department and second team staff, as you may have read in one of my previous blogs. It turns out that four months later, I received a call from former Austin Two assistant coach Dennis Sanchez, now the new Head Coach of the Lights. Him and I met and interacted for five days, and he ended up calling me to support him in his new endeavor in Las Vegas. As my father always said, it is important to be able to return to a place and be welcomed with open arms. This is a sign that we left a positive image and impact on that environment the first time we came through. Again, I continue to stress the importance of people and the connections we make with our fellow human beings. These are connections and impressions that leave a trace behind and that need nurturing, so let’s keep investing our time in people, not things!

So, back in February, Dennis asked me to support him on his new journey and spear head the high-performance department as an advisor. After a couple weeks of remote support and planning, we landed in Tucson, AZ for two weeks of pre-season. I must say, it felt good to get my boots on the ground and have a blank slate to implement a system of operations, new tech, and most importantly the highest professional standards to serve our pool of professional athletes. Since then, it has been amazing to see the growth of the club in just three months under new ownership. Though there is still a long way to go and many aspects to improve on, the club is heading in the right direction.

Most recently, I have taken the lead on the hiring process of their in-coming High-Performance Director. Though I have led hiring many times prior, this one is even more special! Simply because of the immediate need for and importance of the role. Given where the club is currently, this new arrival will carry a massive impact in propelling them in the right direction – thus, a very meaningful hire for me. The other aspect making this process even more special is the openness to hire and sponsor a foreign candidate, which adds its own challenges but makes the negotiations even more demanding. Now, four weeks into the process, having followed a very systematic approach, I feel very confident in the options I am presenting to ownership. 

In summary, I want to keep highlighting the importance we must place on connecting with people first – connecting with an open mind and open heart. Maybe it turns out that we don’t relate well with the person or maybe they become a major part of our lives, but at the core, we should approach every encounter with positive emotions which will lead to positive energies being exchanged, and who knows what happens next. I truly feel like this opportunity with the Lights stemmed from my very positive visit in Austin last year. A visit where I was truly open and genuinely myself but also open to learning, growing and absorbing which must have left a good feel for assistant coach Dennis at the time. As a result, a great new experience came my way and drew me into a commitment I never expected. It has been a pleasure working with everyone so far, and I can’t wait to continue supporting the club and new Owner José Bautista as they turn this franchise into the desired destination it deserves to be!