CARSON, Calif. – Carlo Cudicini has undergone a great deal of challenges over the last three years, but the veteran Italian goalkeeper is excited about the opportunity for a fresh start with the LA Galaxy.
Cudicini joined the Galaxy on Dec. 31 on a free transfer from Tottenham Hotspur, ending a 15-year career in the English Premier League that included stops at Chelsea and Spurs. That the 39-year-old was able to continue his career is nothing short of incredible after the Italian suffered a motorcycle accident in November of 2009 that many feared would end his career.
Cudicini ultimately battled back from the injury eventually making 37 appearances in all competitions for Tottenham prior to leaving for MLS. Now a member of the Galaxy, Cudicini is eager to prove himself with LA.
“After the motorbike accident that I had, I was struggling to get back fit and I thank all the Tottenham physios because they really helped me out,” said Cudicini in his first interview with the L.A.. based media on Thursday. “It was a big setback in my career and it was difficult to come back, but now I have the chance to play and that’s why I am here.”
Actual games will likely be the least of the challenges that Cudicini will face in his new career in MLS as he must deal with transcontinental travel, matches in searing temperatures, and of course turf fields. However, the Italian is taking the new obstacles in stride.
“It’s a new challenge and I’m pretty sure that when we’re on the road then we’ll be able to be together and it’s a good bond for the team and it’ll be a new experience. I’m looking forward to it because it’ll be new for me and I’m going to be happy to see how it will be.”
The long rumored partnership between MLS and USL PRO became official on Wednesday and now we know when the LA Galaxy Reserves will take part.
The USL PRO released their official schedule on Thursday that has the Galaxy Reserves playing a home-and-home series against the Fullerton-based club. LA will take on the Blues at Cal State Fullerton’s Titan Stadium on April 7 and then end the series on May 7 at The Home Depot Center complex.
Galaxy Technical Director Jovan Kirovski admitted that it is a great start for player development, but at the time LA has no plans to enter in an affiliation.
“It’s good for the development of your young kids and they get to play different competition, not just the same MLS competition all the time,” said Kirovski. “It’s the start to something, I know that other teams are forming partnerships and in the future, if it makes sense for us, we’d do the same, but it’s a great start.
“We’ve played the Blues in the past so we have some partnership with them,” Kirovski added later. “We’ve played them in preseason so it’ll be great competition for us. It’s just something different.”
One of the leaders of LA’s 2012 Western Division Reserve League champion side, Michael Stephens admits that the partnership will be a great asset to those players looking for minutes.
“As you saw last year with Open Cup when we played against the Carolina Railhawks, who are a lower division team, they were a better team than most of the reserve teams that we played. That will be a benefit to the guys who are playing. Also, the guys in [USL PRO] will have a lot to show to impress the MLS coaches so it’ll be a good thing for all the young players.”
The Home Depot Center will likely go by a new name by the end of the year.
A spokesman for the home improvement company told the Associated Press that they will not be renewing their $70 million, 10-year naming rights deal once it expires in May.
When reached for comment, a Home Depot Center spokesperson confirmed that they are in the final negotiations with a new naming rights partner for the facility.
CARSON, Calif. – A few training notes from Thursday’s LA Galaxy training session…
*Due to the rain, the LA Galaxy trained on The Home Depot Center stadium field which is still covered with FieldTurf and football lines from this weekend’s NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.
*After days of running and fitness, soccer balls made a brief appearance, but this was short lived after the completion of a brief passing drill.
*Todd Dunivant was at training for the first time on Thursday after returning from his honeymoon.
*Bruce Arena stated that there was no update on when Landon Donovan will return to Galaxy practice while the Galaxy boss stated that forward Robbie Keane is expected to return next week from his training stint with Tottenham Hotspur.
*Arena stated that “nothing has been finalized” with Re-Entry Draft pick goalkeeper William Hesmer at this moment.
*Supplemental Draft pick midfielder Andy Riemer from Georgetown was out at training on Thursday. Arena revealed that he has spent time over the last two years training with the Galaxy over the last summer. LA’s head coach described him as a “versatile” player who can play a “bunch of positions.”
*When asked about the club’s Designated Player chase, Arena offered no comment telling the media that nothing had been finalized at this point.
Omar Gonzalez has dealt with a great deal of adversity over the past year, but the LA Galaxy centerback has risen above it all to win his second consecutive MLS Cup title, an MLS Cup MVP award, and a place in the U.S. national team for the annual January camp.
In the first episode of "Opportunity Knocks" U.S. Soccer's Allen Hopkins talks with Omar Gonzalez about his experiences over the past year. The video comes a day after Edson Buddle and Steve Beitashour pulled out of camp due to injuries.
Check out the video below...
MLS and USLPRO announced a multi-year partnership on Thursday to integrate the MLS Reserve League into the USL PRO’s schedule. The deal will feature “interleague play” between Reserve League teams and the 13 teams of U.S. Soccer's third tier.
MLS clubs – like the LA Galaxy – are not mandated to have a USL PRO affiliate, but those that do must commit a minimum of four players on a long-term loan to their affiliate and will not be able to participate in the MLS Reserve League. If clubs affiliate with a USL Pro team then they will have to give a minimum of four players.
When the reserve league schedule is announced the Galaxy Reserves are expected to face Los Angeles Blues, who play at Titan Stadium in Cal-State Fullerton.
“This partnership represents the first step in a long-term alliance between MLS and USL PRO to connect domestic professional soccer through a system that benefits player development, competition and the overall business of our sport,” MLS Executive Vice President of Player Relations & Competition Todd Durbin said in a statement. “Over the past several years, USL PRO has made great strides in restructuring their league in a manner that serves to complement the objectives of MLS. This is a win-win for all involved, and it demonstrates our strong commitment to growing North American professional soccer at all levels.”
The 13 USL PRO teams will play in two interleague games against MLS Reserves sides. All of the matches will be a home-at-home series except for Antigua Barracuda FC of the Caribbean nation Antigua & Barbuda who play their matches at the MLS affiliate. All interleague matches will count in the official standings of the Reserve League and USL PRO.
Information on the schedule has not yet been determined.
“USL PRO has for the past several years been the most sophisticated and competitive professional soccer league under MLS,” USL CEO Alec Papadakis said. “This new partnership with MLS will elevate and strengthen the level of competition for domestic professional soccer while simultaneously creating a more sustainable financial model for team owners. As a result, we expect this partnership will forge a seamless system for the development of players and coaches, and promote the expansion of professional soccer into new North American markets.”
Ever wonder what players go through at the outset of preseason? The hours of running and fitness tests that prepare them for the rigors of the season are nothing but an intense challenge.
I recently I received a first hand look at these types of exercises as I underwent the U.S. national team fitness test. Read all about my experiences and how I fared here.
Below is a little compare and contrast: Myself and Leonardo peforming the shuttle run.
— Adam Serrano (@LAGalaxyInsider) January 23, 2013
On Wednesday, CONCACAF announced the 13 venues that will host matches in this Summer's 2013 Gold Cup and it includes Pasadena's legendary Rose Bowl.
The premier tournament in North America, Central America and the Caribbean will take place across 13 venues in 13 different cities across the United States from July 7 to July 28. The cities are as followed: Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA; M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, MD; Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver, CO; Rentschler Field in East Hartford, CT; BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, TX; Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, FL; JELD-WEN Field in Portland, OR and Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, UT. Not on the list is The Home Depot Center, which hosted group stage games in 2011.
Qualification for the tournament is already winding down as the final spot will be decided between Panama and Guatemala in the 2013 Copa Centroamericana. The winner will join Costa Rica, Honduras, Belize from the Central American side. Meanwhile, the U.S., Mexico, Canada, Cuba, Trinidad and Tobago, Haiti, and Martinique have already qualified from North America and the Caribbean respectively.
The 2011 edition of the tournament took place at the Rose Bowl with Mexico defeating the United States 4-2.
CARSON, Calif. – For the rest of their lives, the players selected in last week’s 2013 MLS SuperDraft and Tuesday’s 2013 MLS Supplemental Draft will remember where they were and what they were doing when they learned that their journey as professional soccer players had begun.
LA’s SuperDraft selections Charlie Rugg (first round, 19th overall), Kofi Opare (second round, 24th overall), Greg Cochrane (second round, 38th overall) are no different as each had their own unique experience on draft day.
All three are participating in practice and I spoke to the trio to find out just where they were when they found out that their names were called on draft day.
RUGG: “I had a feeling, but I didn’t want to jinx it. I was watching it online and it was a little delayed so I started getting calls before I found out. It was just the happiest moment of my life.”
OPARE: “I was lying down in my bed and I had my laptop out as I was watched the SuperDraft, hopeful that a team would pick me. As it progressed, I had a feeling based on mock drafts where I’d be picked so when that time came around, I grew a little anxious. When it was LA’s turn, I remember the commissioner saying that ‘with the fifth pick in the second round of the 2013 MLS SuperDraft, the Los Angeles Galaxy select from the University of Michigan,” and that’s when I knew it’d be me. It was definitely an excitement and that’s when I got a call from Bruce who welcomed me to the team. Then my phone just started going off with text messages and calls from so many people.”
COCHRANE: “I was sitting there on the edge of my seat [watching the draft] and my agent had two seconds before and asked me, ‘how do you like LA’ and I said, ‘what’s not to like about LA,’ so he told me that they were about to draft me. When you hear your name called, it’s a good feeling then I got a call from coach Dave [Sarachan] telling me that they had selected me.”
New LA Galaxy assistant coach Pat Noonan learned from some of MLS’ finest coaches during his nine year career in MLS and he is hoping to take a little of each of them in his new coaching venture.
Noonan elected to retire during the offseason after his first season with the Galaxy and immediately filled the vacated assistant coach slot previously by new club Technical Director Jovan Kirovski. During his nine year career in MLS, Noonan received a first-hand coaching clinic as he learned from three of MLS’ most storied bosses—Steve Nicol (New England Revolution), Sigi Schmid (Columbus Crew and Seattle Sounders FC), and Bruce Arena (LA Galaxy).
In his first preseason with the club, Noonan has been a regular with the Galaxy as he helps the staff lead them through fitness drills and even participating in jogs across the training ground.
Noonan discusses what he hopes to take from each of the three coaching legends below…
(On Bruce Arena…)
NOONAN: “I learned how a great coach handles adversity. Halfway through the year I think we were at the bottom of the table or close to it in the Western Conference, and he never once panicked. He kept his cool as did Curt and Dave and the players fed off that. At no point did he say I doubt that we can get in the playoffs or win a championship. He said it’s only a matter of time and we’re going to get in the playoffs and have a chance to win a championship, and he was right. I think that calmness was something I really admired and took note of.”
(On Sigi Schmid…)
NOONAN: “With Sigi, it was his passion to want to win and his coaching ability. Much like Bruce he’s very organized and has a great support staff. Like Bruce he cares so much about the players and the organization and he wanted to win. You admire that.”
(On Steve Nicol, his coach with New England…)
NOONAN: “Stevie Nicol was another coach I had for a long time. A very laid-back guy, as much of a player’s coach as you’ll find. Do whatever you want as long as you’re ready to come on game day to perform.”