CARSON, Calif. – In an interview with reporters in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, U.S. National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann stated that Landon Donovan still has a ways to go before he earns his way back into the U.S. setup and on Thursday, the LA Galaxy attacker agreed.
Klinsmann talked to reporters at length on Wednesday about Donovan’s status with the National Team stating that there are “players clearly ahead of Landon Donovan in how we see things.”
The Galaxy forward is coming off a stellar game in which he notched a goal and an assist in LA’s 2-0 victory over Sporting Kansas City with Klinsmann in attendance at The Home Depot Center. However, he is clearly aware that he’ll have to have more than just one solid game to work his way back into the national team.
“I agree with him. Just because you score a goal and have a good game doesn’t mean that you’re a National Team player. I’ve said from the beginning that I have to earn my way back and playing one good game doesn’t earn your way back. I still have a long way to go.”
Donovan has made just eight appearances for the National Team in their last 25 fixtures and during his conversation with reporters, Klinsmann touched on concerns about Donovan mixing into the team’s chemistry, forged during their recent World Cup Qualifying campaign.
“[Chemistry] is important. That’s been in the staple of our national team all the years that I’ve been there,” said Donovan. “What makes us able to compete with the best teams in the world is that we have this strong bond and this strong group and chemistry that I don’t think other teams have. So when you’re away from the team for a time, you’re a bit of an outsider. I want to get back in; I want to get back involved so that I can be a part of it.
“I don’t worry about fitting in, but I need to be there to be able to gel with everybody.”
Following his strong performance in his fifth game since his absence from the club, Donovan believes that the answer to earning his spot is simple. He’s got to play well.
“I have to continue to build on what I did last weekend, but after that there’s still no guarantee,” said Donovan. “Like Jurgen said, I’m well behind the group in a lot of ways and I’m aware of that. All I want is a chance to prove that I belong and I’m going to have to work hard just to get that chance.”
But do Klinsmann’s comments provide any extra motivation or incentive for Donovan? Not at all.
“I know how to motivate myself now. Listen, Jurgen was asked a question and he was answering honestly. I would answer the same way if I was in his position,” asserted Donovan. “I don’t need extra incentive. I’m motivated and I want to get back there. If it doesn't happen, it doesn’t happen, but I’m going to try my best.”
New LA Galaxy Technical Director Jovan Kirovski is hoping to bring his unique experience –which includes being the first American to win the UEFA Champions League—to the Galaxy.
A few of quotes from my conversation with Kirovski are below…
(On whether the goal is to have a unified playing style between the Academy and the first team....)
KIROVSKI: “We want our teams to play the same way in an attacking style. We’re the Galaxy and we want to play attractive and attacking soccer. That’s what we try to do across the whole club. We want to entertain, but we also want to win. We want to win championships in the first team, we want to win at the Academy level in doing that, we want to play our way which is attractive and attacking soccer with flair and entertainment because that’s what we are.”
(On what the Academy learned from participating in Dallas Cup…)
KIROVSKI: “For me it was seeing the standard of play in Europe and across the world. We had a good showing, but I know that we’re still a little bit behind. In that group, we have a few very good players like Drew Murphy, Nathan Smith, Raul Mendiola, Paul Arriola, who are very good, but as a group we’re still a little bit behind those teams like Fulham, the Brazilian teams and others. We’re close, but we’re still behind and that’s our job to try and be at that level.”
(On how to bridge the gap between those teams…)
KIROVSKI: “They’ve been around longer, they’re in a soccer environment, the kids watch soccer all the time, but we’re creating that more and more. When I played, club soccer teams trained twice a week now we have a program where we have our kids training four times a week and playing on the weekends. We’re playing all the time and have a structure and philosophy that says how we want to play. We’re getting better and better. It’s getting there and it takes times, but if you look at some of the players that have come through in our first team, it’s unbelievable. We’re going to get bigger and better and have more players coming through.”
(On building a professional environment while going up against Residency programs…)
KIROVSKI: “The way we set up our sessions, the way that we train every day. These people have residency, but our kids live nearby it’s better for them. They get to be with their families and they get professional coaching at a high level and they get that environment here. For me, it’s better for our kids to be home in Southern California and get that. I believe that we’re better than the U.S. Soccer residency program for sure.”
For the first time ever, the LA Galaxy appointed a Technical Director in experienced forward and former Galaxy assistant coach Jovan Kirovski.
I spoke to Kirovski as well as club President Chris Klein on the new role.
LA Galaxy Technical Director Jovan Kirovski looks back on Champions League triumph with Borussia Dortmund
With their 4-1 victory over Real Madrid on Wednesday, Borussia Dortmund appear to have one foot firmly planted in the UEFA Champions League Final.
The Germans victory is a special one for LA Galaxy Technical Director Jovan Kirovski, who was on the books at Dortmund during their last victory in the Champions League. Kirovski became the first American to ever win the Champions League when Dortmund knocked off Italian giants Juventus to win the 1996/1997 UEFA Champions League title. To date, Kirovski remains the only American to ever win the Champions League and subsequently the only American to win the Intercontinental Cup, which was the predecessor of the World Club Championship.
Kirovski admits to pulling for his former club despite being close friends with Madrid assistant coach Aitor Karanka, who was Kirovski's teammate in 2006 with the Colorado Rapids. Now more than a decade removed from Dortmund's last Champions League triumph, Kirovski looks back on his distinction as the first American to lift the European Cup.
“Back then, I didn’t even think about it, but now when I do, it’s special. I was part of a team that was full world superstars and to be a part of that was special," Kirovski told LA Galaxy Insider. "Not many people get an opportunity to do that not only with the Champions League, but the World Club Championship and to be a part of something like that as an American, not many get that opportunity and it’s a great experience.”
Might the LA Galaxy be prepared to sign another Homegrown Player?
According to a report by Top Drawer Soccer, the LA Galaxy are set to sign 18-year-old Raul Mendiola, who has spent the last two years with the club’s Under-18 side. Mendiola, who was raised in San Bernardino, would be the club’s sixth Homegrown signing ever.
Mendiola has been a regular with the club’s Reserve side over the past year and participated in the club’s Dallas Cup campaign last month.
LA Galaxy Insider reached out to the club and they did not comment on the report.
What are your thoughts about the report?
Share them below.
The LA Galaxy Foundation held their annual Reading Garden event this Tuesday at Annalee Avenue Elementary School in Carson.
Several LA Galaxy players participated in the event, but I spoke to midfielder Rafael Garcia about his participation in the video below.
Check it out.
The LA Galaxy finalized their Reserve League match with USL Pro side Los Angeles Blues earlier this week.
LA will take on the Blues on May 7 at The Home Depot Center's U.S. Soccer Field #1 at 7 p.m. Admission and parking for that match is free. The second match between the two clubs will take place at Titan Stadium on the campus of Cal-State Fullerton on June 15 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for that match are available through the USL Pro side's website.
CARSON, Calif. –In his third season in MLS, Jack McBean appears to be settling into a role as a regular member in the LA Galaxy starting XI.
McBean has started in four of the Galaxy’s six games in all competitions while amassing two goals and an assist. I wrote this piece about McBean’s rise and his desire to turn his appearances into goals for LAGalaxy.com.
Following practice on Tuesday, McBean touched on a number of topics including his status with the U.S. Under-20’s, how his life is different than other teenagers his age and the rise of Philadelphia Union forward Jack McInerney.
McBean’s comments are below…
(On his status with the Under-20’s after not being called up to the April training camp…)
MCBEAN: “Not really worrying about it, I’m just focusing on the Galaxy and my role with the team right now. I know that if I do well with this team then it’s up to [U.S. Under-20 head coach] Tab [Ramos]. He’s called me in before and there’s a bunch of good players.”
(On how his life is different than other teenagers…)
MCBEAN: “I had to grow up a lot, but it’s easier to go back home. I’m still living at home and seeing all my best friends every day. My life is different than most people, but at the same time, I’m still doing most normal things that high school kids do.”
(On the rise of young forward Philadelphia Union forward Jack McInerney…)
MCBEAN: “It’s awesome. He’s been scoring a lot of goals…It’s cool to see another young kid get opportunities and he’s making the most of it.”
CARSON, Calif. – A nagging sports hernia injury sidelined LA Galaxy goalkeeper Brian Perk, but now fully recovered, the backup goalkeeper is hungry to get back on the training field.
The Galaxy backup ‘keeper has been sidelined since March 16 after undergoing sports hernia surgery, which allowed LA’s third goalkeeper Brian Rowe to slide into the second spot behind starting ‘keeper Carlo Cudicini. His recovery finally completed, Perk returned to training this week.
“I feel really excited to get back as opposed to when you’ve been training for two months; you take it a little for granted. When you’ve been out for a month and some change, it’s really exciting,” Perk told LA Galaxy Insider. “It’s good to be back with all the guys, I missed them for a good two weeks. It’s not normal and it feels good to get back with everyone.”
First things first, however, as Perk understands that he must impress in training to win back his role as LA’s first choice backup.
“You always have to earn it back,” said Perk. “Brian Rowe obviously looks really good and is playing well as of late. I have to come in and work hard because nothing is given to you and I know that.”
Head coach Bruce Arena, who kept an eagle eye on Perk during his recuperation from surgery, has been impressed thus far.
“He looks good. He looks like he is fully recovered,” Arena said. “He’s done a good job of rehabilitating from surgery and he’s ready to go.”
The 23-year-old will look to make his first appearance since the preseason on Sunday when the Galaxy take on Real Salt Lake in Reserve League play. The match would be Perk’s first appearance since the Galaxy’s 6-2 preseason victory over Club Tijuana on February 19.
“We haven’t talked about it yet [with the coaching staff], we’ll see how the end of the week goes, but I’m going to be pushing for minutes, but those things are up to Bruce so we’ll see,” said Perk.
If he does see time in that reserve fixture, it’d be a major boost to Perk’s continued recovery.
“It’d be great, especially so quickly after I got healthy. To get however minutes would be great,” Perk said. “It’d help get the motions back and since we have a lot of games coming up. I’ll do anything to do what I can to get on the field when Bruce sees fit.”
Three players with LA Galaxy connections were called up by U.S. Under-20 head coach Tab Ramos for the team's upcoming camp at The Home Depot Center from April 22 to April 29.
Galaxy Homegrown Players Oscar Sorto and Jose Villarreal were named to the squad along with Galaxy Academy defender Javan Torre. The training camp will likely serve as one of the final proving grounds for players ahead of the 2013 U-20 World Cup in Turkey which takes place from June 21 to July 13.
The camp is an immense opportunity for Sorto who has not been called up since prior to the CONCACAF U-20 World Cup in February. During the training camp, Sorto will be locked into a battle for the contentious the starting right back position along with Seattle Sounders FC's DeAndre Yedlin.
Torre and Villarreal were both regulars for the U-20's during their second-place finish in Puebla.
Another former member of the Galaxy Academy, Jeffrey Payeras who is currently with Guatemalan giants C.S.D Municipal was also called by Ramos.
The complete roster is below...
GOALKEEPERS: Cody Cropper (Southampton FC; Maple Grove, Minn.), Kendall McIntosh (Santa Clara; Santa Rosa, Calif.)
DEFENDERS: AJ Cochran (Wisconsin; St. Louis, Mo.), Sean Cunningham (Molde FK; Troy, Mich.), Eric Miller (Creighton; Woodbury, Minn.), Juan Pablo Ocegueda (C.D. Guadalajara; Riverside, Calif.), Jeffrey Payeras (C.S.D. Municipal; Hawthorne, Calif.), Oscar Sorto (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.), Javan Torre (UCLA; Santa Monica, Calif.), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders; Seattle, Wash.)
MIDFIELDERS: Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas; Plano, Texas), Marlon Hairston (Louisville; Jackson, Miss.), Benji Joya (Santos Laguna; San Jose, Calif.), Mikey Lopez (Sporting Kansas City; Mission, Texas), Collin Martin (Wake Forest; Chevy Chase, Md.), Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids; Brighton, Colo.), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew; Gahanna, Ohio)
FORWARDS: Daniel Cuevas (Santos Laguna; Sacramento, Calif.), Daniel Garcia (North Carolina; Dallas, Texas), Alfred Koroma (Akron; Southlake, Texas), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders Academy; Mercer Island, Wash.), Victor Pineda (Chicago Fire; Bolingbrook, Ill.), Omar Salgado (Vancouver Whitecaps; El Paso, Texas), Jose Villarreal (LA Galaxy; Inglewood, Calif.)