During a conference call with L.A.-based reporters, LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena stated that he does not expect midfielder Christian Wilhelmsson or forward Chad Barrett back for the 2013 season.
Wilhelmsson made nine appearances for the Galaxy in regular season and postseason play, tallying one goal and one assist. The Swedish midfielder was not at present at the club's championship celebration on Monday to tend to his pregnant wife Oksana in Sweden.
"I don't expect Wilhelmsson to be back," said Arena on Wednesday. "He has other options that he wants to look at."
Meanwhile, Barrett was among the six players -- Brian Perk, Bryan Jordan, Kyle Nakazawa, Pat Noonan, Andrew Boyens being the others -- who were made available for the Re-Entry Draft process. Arena stated that Barrett, who has been on loan with Norwegian club Valerenga since late-July would not return, but the door remained open for the other five players made available for the Re-Entry Draft.
"We will not be re-signing Barrett for sure," said Arena. "The others, we will remain in conversation with and see if we can work it out with them. My advice to a number of them is to go through the first phase of the Re-Entry Draft positions you to be in a more favorable position in all honesty."
Arena also confirmed that he anticipates that some players that were made available for the Re-Entry Draft process may pull out of the draft before the Thursday deadline at 2 p.m. PT.
Bruce Arena confirmed in his end of the season teleconference with reporters that the club will be signing defender Oscar Sorto.
“Oscar Sorto will be signed. He'll be part of our club in 2013," said Arena. "Oscar will be signed, we want to sign Oscar.”
The 18-year-old outside back from South Central Los Angeles has made seven starts for the LA Galaxy Under-18s this season tallying three goals. Sorto has been training with the Galaxy first team since August and was a regular on LA’s MLS Reserve League Western Division champion team making six appearances for the squad. Sorto also received some experience abroad earlier this year when he trained with Swedish club Hammarby IK for a week in August.
During the teleconference, Arena said that "possibly" other Homegrown targets could be signed. Arena also stated that "no decisions made" on midfielder Raul Mendiola and confirmed that the club remains interested in Cal State-Bakersfield forward Gyasi Zardes.
A couple of thoughts from several LA Galaxy players that spoke at last night's Championship Celebration.
*Robbie Keane, on any potential offseason loan: "I haven't even thought of it, to be honest with you. I look forward to a rest now. It's been a long season for me, I've played a lot of football. It's not certain now. I'll think about it in a couple of weeks."
*Landon Donovan on the Galaxy fans "ten more years chant" : "I don't know if I'll be able to walk in 10 more years, so I don't know what they're thinking. It was nice. I appreciated it."
A few other notes from around the league...
* FC Dallas re-signed center back George John to a multi-year deal on Tuesday. John had previously garnered interest from teams abroad.
*In his end of the season press conference, Houston Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear said that he would not be surprised if Brian Ching came back for his tenth season in MLS. Kinnear also said that there is no word on the extent of forward Calen Carr's injury.
*Philadelphia Union youngster Zach Pfeffer will be going to German club Hoffenheim after a year-long loan agreement was reached.
The LA Galaxy's season ended just days ago, but it's never too soon to start looking at next year.
The Team LA store at The Home Depot Center has already begun selling team polos and rain jackets with the LA Galaxy logo with three stars over the crest. Remember, MLS teams wear a scudetto on the right side of their crest that signifies their status as MLS Cup champions.
Below is a photo that I snapped of the logo on a polo. A photo of the logo on a rain jacket can be found on Instagram
This may not be LA Galaxy-related, but the soccer world lost an important person today in 41-year-old former Colombian national team goalkeeper Miguel Calero.
The announcement that Calero had passed away due to complications from cerebral thrombosis -- the most common type of stroke-- came from his longtime club Pachuca on Tuesday afternoon. Calero had been hospitalized since Nov. 26 after suffering cerebral thrombosis at his home in Pachuca, Mexico.
Calero spent 11 years with Pachuca until his retirement in 2011 due to persistent arm injuries. During his time with Pachuca, Calero won three Mexican titles with Los Tuzos (the Gophers) and became well-known to Galaxy fans after helping Pachuca win the 2007 Superliga title over LA. Calero came up large during that penalty shootout numerous times including saving a penalty kick from Landon Donovan to help seal Pachuca's win.
By far the funniest speech of the night, below is Bruce Arena's speech at the LA Galaxy's Championship Celebration
Below is David Beckham's complete speech from today's LA Galaxy Championship Celebration.
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy will not be going on a postseason tour.
The team learned of the fact just before going on stage at Monday’s championship rally. Rumors had placed the Galaxy in a number of different locations, but for the first time since 2009, the Galaxy will be able to enjoy a complete offseason.
Although there had been a number of different options, Galaxy Vice President Chris Klein admitted the club’s MLS Cup title was a fitting end to the team’s 2012.
“After careful consideration of multiple opportunities, we have decided to forgo any potential postseason tours,” said Klein in a statement. “Our players and coaches have gone above and beyond for our club and we feel that capturing our second straight MLS Cup title is a fitting end to an historic year.”
After the way the 2012 season began, defender Todd Dunivant believes that the fact the team is missing the tour could be a good thing, but the one problem that arises is that the start of preseason may conflict with his planned wedding on Jan. 11 and subsequent honeymoon.
“There weren’t too many tears shed on that announcement today,” said Dunivant. “It’s nice to go to these exotic places and spread the brand and play teams in places that you’ve never played before, but at the same time, it’s the end of the season and everyone is ready for a break.
“I think that trip last year may have affected us a little bit going into this postseason and contributed to part of that haze that we had so much trouble getting out of,” Dunivant added. “The downside is our preseason starts a little early so I may have to be a little late to do with my honeymoon, but we’ll see what happens with that. All and all, I think it’s a good thing for our team."
The LA Galaxy declined the options of six players making them eligible for the Re-Entry Draft, a two process draft that begins with stage one on Friday at noon.
LA declined the options of goalkeeper Brian Perk, defenders Andrew Boyens and Bryan Jordan, midfielder Kyle Nakazawa, and forwards Chad Barrett and Pat Noonan.
The Galaxy may have declined their options, but have until 2 p.m. PT on Thursday to renegotiate their deals.That is also the moment when players can opt out of the Re-Entry Draft process.
Following the first stage, teams can once again negotiate with their own Re-Entry draft eligible players from Dec. 7 to Dec. 13 at 2 p.m. PT. The second stage of the Re-Entry draft will take place at Dec. 14 at noon PT. The Galaxy will have the 19th pick in both stages.
If a player is not selected in either stage or re-signed to their club, they will be free agents and available to all clubs.
CARSON, Calif. –Throughout the latter stages of the LA Galaxy’s season, no one was more influential than forward Robbie Keane.
The Irishman was a man possessed after returning from the European Championships in mid-June tallying 17 goals in all competitions along with nine assists. When the postseason began, Keane ramped up his production even further by notching six postseason goals—as well as the final goal in Saturday’s 3-1 MLS Cup win over the Houston Dynamo – and one assist.
An MLS Cup winner for the second time, Keane admitted that the adversity that the club faced in 2012 made his second title with LA that much sweeter.
“It’s obviously fantastic, it certainly means a lot more this year than it did last year—even though it was great last year— because this year I was here from the start of the season,” said Keane. “Full credit to the team and the attitude that we’ve shown over the last few months because people wrote us off at the start of the season, but there are two halves to the season and the second half of the season as fantastic. We certainly were the best team by far in these last few months and we deserved to win it.”
In Saturday’s triumph, Keane was once again at the forefront of LA’s victory repeatedly testing the Houston back four before eventually putting the game on ice with a penalty kick goal in stoppage time after being fouled in the box by Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall.
After Keane’s stellar performance over the last five months, the Irishman received the highest compliment from his head coach Bruce Arena.
“Robbie, I think we grew up together in Brooklyn. He has the same type of mentality, he is one tough bastard,” said Arena. “[He is] skillful, competitive, a great friend of players, and a great teammate. If you look at it, last year we said we have to get a little bit better and we were incredibly lucky to acquire Robbie.
“Robbie is a clever player, there’s no question about that,” Arena added later. “I don’t think he relies on out-jumping players, out-running players. He’s a thinker, technically terrific, and he’s just extremely clever.”
Tough? Sure. But Keane was not one to get carried away with the praise heading his way.
“I don’t want to speak about myself too much to be honest with you. The most important thing in football is a team and [being] surrounded by players that help you,” said Keane. “You can't win a game on your own. I've been very fortunate to play with a good team, and we've been helping each other, and as long as the team’s helped me to score goals and I can help them ... well, great.”
What’s next for the Irishman now that he has won his second MLS Cup? He has repeatedly deflected talk that he will go on another offseason loan due to a few knocks over the last couple weeks, but he will be playing soccer in Ireland, albeit in a different setting.
“[I’ll go] back to Dublin, play five-a-side with me brother and people like that to keep myself fit – that's all I usually do in the offseason,” said Keane. “I shouldn't really say that to Bruce, in case I get injured.”
However, there was no condemnation from the head coach of Keane’s offseason activity.
“He might have a pint as well,” said Arena with a grin.
“A couple probably,” Keane answered.