(Photo courtesy of USL Championship)

Former Cosmos midfielder Juan Guerra Thursday was named head coach of the Oakland Roots SC, the USL Championship club announced.

Guerra will succeed Jordan Ferrell, who will return to his fulltime role as the team’s technical director.

“Oakland when you talk about the fan base, the supporters, the diversity that the city has, the character of their people, they are hard-working and they don’t back down, they push forward, they always want to grow and improve so that drives me,” Guerra said in a statement. “The opportunity to build something special and different in Oakland is one I wanted to be a part of. The goal is to make this organization one of the top organizations in North America and work together with the players, the staff, the fans and the community to reach that common goal.”

Guerra, 34, played with the Cosmos during the 2017 North American Soccer League season, scoring five goals in 30 matches.

The Caracas, Venezuela native also has played for the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Indy Eleven, and served as an assistant coach at Indy and Phoenix Rising FC. After competing in the United States with Florida International University, Guerra returned to his home country to play professionally in the Venezuelan top flight with Monagas, Carabobo, Deportivo Lara and Caracas – including a brief loan spell in Spain with Las Palmas. He also made six appearances for Venezuela’s men’s national team.

“We are incredibly excited to bring Juan to Oakland,” Roots VP of Soccer Eric Yamamoto said in a statement. “He has a deep knowledge of this league having played and coached in both the East and West and we can’t wait to get started in 2022 with Juan at the helm.”

Added Roots chair Steven Alrich: “We had many ups and downs in 2021 but we are ending the year on an incredible high. Our new coach will lead us into 2022 and help us build the foundation for an even brighter future at Oakland Roots. Juan brings a supreme understanding of the USL and excitement for the Roots’ purpose on and off the field.”