Robbie Keane is back in Southern California.
The LA Galaxy’s Irish forward returned to The Home Depot Center practice field on Thursday after completing his physical earlier in the day. Keane has spent the last two weeks training with his former club Tottenham Hotspur.
“I always look forward to getting back into the swing of things,” Keane told LAGalaxy.com’s Larry Morgan. “I’m looking forward to really getting into training with the lads…For me; it’s been a long break. Certainly you get those niggles you had to get sorted out. I feel good.”
Keane wasn’t the only player to return as defenders A.J. DeLaGarza and Omar Gonzalez both returned from International duty.
Former MLS defender Alex Yi has taken over as head coach of the LA Galaxy Under-18's.
Yi replaces Eddie Soto, who will now serve as the head coach of the LA Under-15's. For a little bit more on Yi, read his bio here.
A few other notes from the day...
*Former FC Dallas forward Brek Shea completed his move to Stoke City.
*The San Jose Earthquakes were unable to secure another loan or full transfer for midfielder Simon Dawkins who moved from Tottenham Hotspur to Aston Villa
*D.C. United extended head coach Ben Olsen's contract through the 2014 season.
*On Wednesday, i spoke to several LA Galaxy players about their upcoming friendly against Club Tijuana.
*Lastly, the LA Galaxy kick off their preseason slate on Friday against the U.S. Under-17 national team. U-17 head coach Richie Williams announced the squad earlier in the day...
GOALKEEPERS (2): Jeff Caldwell (NC Fusion; Todd, N.C.), Paul Christensen (Seattle Sounders; Woodinville, Wash.)
DEFENDERS (8): Conor Donovan (NC Alliance; Fuquay Varina, N.C.), Justen Glad (Real Salt Lake Academy; Tucson, Ariz.), Elijah Martin (Unattached; Fresno, Calif.), Shaquell Moore (Unattached; Powder Springs, Ga.), Erik Palmer-Brown (Sporting Kansas City; Lee’s Summitt, Mo.), Tommy Redding (FC America Premier; Oviedo, Fla.), John Requejo Jr. (Real So Cal; Carpinteria, Calif.), Caleb Smith (Solar Chelsea SC; Arlington, Texas)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Corey Baird (San Diego Surf; Escondido, Calif.), Junior Flores (Unattached; Manassas Park, Va.), Angel Heredia (San Jose Earthquakes; San Jose, Calif.), Christopher Lema (New York Red Bulls; Ridgefield, N.J.), Ben Swanson (Crew Soccer Academy; Grove City, Ohio)
FORWARDS (6): Bradford Jamieson (Chivas USA; Los Angeles, Calif.), Nathan Kohl (Crew Soccer Academy; Hilliard, Ohio), Rubio Rubin (unattached; Beaverton, Ore.), Ahinga Selemani (CSA Wolves; Ann Arbor, Mich.), Wesley Wade (New York Red Bulls; South Orange, N.J.), Alan Winn (Solar Chelsea FC; Garland, Texas)
David Beckham's newest challenge will take place in Paris, France.
After nearly signing with Paris St. Germain a year ago before opting to return to the LA Galaxy, the former Galaxy midfielder has joined the French giants on a five-month deal. During that time, Beckham’s entire salary will be donated to a local children’s charity.
“I chose here because I can see what the club are trying to do, the players they're bringing in,” said Beckham in front of a packed press conference at PSG's Parc des Princes stadium. “I won't receive any salary, we have decided my salary will go towards a local children's charity in Paris and that is one of the things we are very excited and proud to do…I am very lucky to have earned what I have earned throughout my career."
At PSG, Beckham will be reunited with head coach Carlo Ancelotti and director of football Leonardo who served as the managers of AC. Milan during Beckham’s loans to the Italian outfit in 2009 and 2010. Beckham joins PSG’s cavalcade of stars which includes Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimović, Brazilian defender Thiago Silva, and Argentine midfielder Javier Pastore among many others.
"I'm pleased to be able to welcome David Beckham to our club," PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi said during the press conference. "He will be joining us for five months until June 30."
During the press conference, the 37-year-old Englishman—who is now the oldest player in the French Ligue 1—deflected any speculation that he would retire after his contract with PSG ends. Beckham did state however, that he was still committed to serving as an ambassador for MLS despite his departure, but offered no indication on when he may choose to invest in MLS.
“Who knows. I was part of MLS for six years with huge success off the field and in the last three years, we had huge success on the field. I will continue to be an ambassador for football in America," Beckham said. "I enjoyed living there, my family enjoyed living there and it was something that was very special for us over those years. I always said to my commitment to football in the United States will continue. I will continue to be an ambassador there and if I can grow the game in other places than great.”
Watch the entire press conference below…
LA Galaxy second round draft pick Kofi Opare spent his entire life crisscrossing the globe with his family and now the 22-year-old defender is with the Galaxy, he's hoping to settle with LA.
I recently spoke to the 2013 MLS Super Draft's 24th overall selection to discuss his unique past as well as how the former Michigan defender believes that he fits into the Galaxy's deep centerback core.
CARSON, Calif. -- The champions of the United States and Mexico will face off on Feb. 19 at The Home Depot Center as the LA Galaxy take on the reigning Liga MX titleholders Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles.
Tickets for the match are 10 dollars and Galaxy season ticket holders will receive a pair for free. The match, which is slated for 7:30 is main event of a series of activities that begin at 4:30 p.m. when the Galaxy Under-18's will take on Tijuana's U-18's on University Field #5. Then at 6:30, fans will be able to participate in a townhall meeting with Galaxy President Chris Klein, AEG Sports Chief Operating Officer Kelly Cheeseman and Galaxy General Manager and Head Coach Bruce Arena in front of section 132.
The primary question surrounding Tijuana, however, is just who will suit up for the club as they will take on Colombian side Colombian side Millonarios in the Copa Libertadores that evening. But that is of little concern for Arena, who believes that Tijuana will offer a valuable challenge as the Galaxy prepare for the start of the season.
"We're getting close to opening day and we want to get our players there," said Arena. "Whether it's the reserves and some of the first team players, we don't know the composition [of Tijuana], but it’ll be a good game for our players and it gives our fans the opportunity to see us play as well so it’s a win, win situation for everyone."
Looking for a Landon Donovan, Omar Gonzalez or Robbie Keane bobblehead? Well, now you'll have your chance get one.
On Wednesday, the LA Galaxy announced the promotional schedule for the 2013 season, which includes three bobblehead nights as well as an MLS Cup ring replica giveaway. The schedule also revealed the date of LA's third kit unveiling which will take place on Aug. 17 vs. Real Salt Lake.
LA will kick off their promotional schedule in earnest on Apr. 20 as the first 10,000 fans that attend the Galaxy's match against Sporting Kansas City will receive replica MLS Cup rings. The bobblehead promotions begin on May 5 during LA's MLS Cup rematch against the Houston Dynamo when 10,000 fans will receive a Landon Donovan bobblehead. Later in the season, 10,000 fans will have a chance to grab an Omar Gonzalez bobblehead ahead of LA's July 7 match against FC Dallas and a Robbie Keane bobblehead on Aug. 31 before the Galaxy's California Clasico fixture against the San Jose Earthquakes.
Also of note, single game tickets for the club's regular season opener against the Chicago Fire on March 3 will go on sale to the public on Feb. 5.
CARSON, Calif. –Michael Stephens is well aware that he has an opportunity to solidify his place with the LA Galaxy this season and now it’s up to the energetic 23-year-old to lock one down.
After spending three seasons behind the likes of David Beckham, Juninho, and Marcelo Sarvas in LA's midfield depth chart, the departure of Beckham represents an opportunity for Stephens to lock down a regular spot with the Galaxy starting lineup in 2013.
“Personally, it’s a really important year for me,” said Stephens. “I’ve been kind of a role player. It’s time for me step up here and define a role on this team.”
While Stephens may be looking to carve out a place in the Galaxy’s starting XI, just where he fits on the field is still to be decided.
“We’re going to be playing him a little out wide as well as inside [the midfield]. In those terms, there are some adjustments depending on where he plays, he’s got to tactically understand and do it right,” said head coach Bruce Arena. “He’s been behind some good players, he’s been dealing with in the middle Beckham, Juninho and Sarvas last year and out wide [Mike] Magee, Christian [Wilhelmsson], Landon [Donovan] so it’s not a criticism of Mike because he’s just been competing against some good players.”
A few preseason notes…
*Bruce Arena on the situation surrounding goalkeeper William Hesmer, who was selected in the MLS Re-Entry Draft: “Nothing at this point.”
*Robbie Keane and Juninho will arrive in Southern California later this week. It appears doubtful that they will play in Friday’s preseason match against the U.S. Under-17’s
*Arena on Friday’s preseason match: “It’s the first time that we’ll go onto the field 11 v. 11 and just transitioning into a big game and play a little bit as a team.”
Former LA Galaxy midfielder David Beckham has decided to train with English Premier League giants Arsenal as he continues mull over the next stop in his career.
Beckham began training with Arsenal on Tuesday at their training ground London Colney as he looks to keep his fitness up. When asked the inviteable question if Beckham could be an option for the Gunners to sign, the club's manager Arsene Wenger immediately shot down any speculation.
"He [Beckham] has asked to come here and work on his fitness. He has not done anything for a long time," Wenger told the media. "He called me. It is purely for fitness. There is no speculation of signing him or anything."
CARSON, Calif. –On Tuesday, LA Galaxy defenders A.J. DeLaGarza and Omar Gonzalez will look to further their International careers when the United States takes on Canada at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston.
The two Galaxy defenders and the rest of the U.S. squad departed for Houston over the weekend and finished up their final preparation for the friendly with a public training session on Monday evening. In his third camp with the national team, DeLaGarza has been impressed with the preparations ahead of the friendly against Canada.
“Every session has been short, but very intense. The quality is high [throughout the roster]. We’re getting good quality training every day and we’re getting minutes by scrimmaging so we’re moving along pretty well,” said DeLaGarza. “It’s been good. I kind of knew what to expect coming into this camp and all the guys are top quality players.”
Whether DeLaGarza will have a place in head coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s starting lineup–or even the game day roster – on Tuesday remains to be seen, but Klinsmann has been impressed with what he has seen from the resourceful defender.
“He’s versatile; he reads the game very well. Sometimes, you don’t need to be the big strong guy and get into the battle because he gets in front of his opponent and wins it already,” said Klinsmann. “We told him, we see how things develop and we see a lot of qualities in him. He’s a different type of center back than Omar Gonzalez or Matt Besler and you need this to put your puzzle together.”
The U.S. National Team head coach summarizes the January camp in a video produced by U.S. Soccer below.
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy finally broke up their intense fitness preparation on Monday by participating in short-sided games for much for the club’s training session.
After spending the first week focusing primarily on fitness work, the session represented an opportunity for head coach Bruce Arena to evaluate his players in a new way.
“It’s just a start, we had five weeks before we open so we have plenty of time, but it was good to get the guys out in a regular training session today,” said Arena. “It’s a group of young players, but it was good to see how some of the responded to the training and look at their habits as well as things they do well and not do well so we can build on that.”
Midfielder Michael Stephens was overjoyed to take part in actual on-field work.
“Finally, we cut up the monotony of running around in a circle. We took the balls out and I thought that we had a good first day. I thought that everyone was pretty sharp,” said Stephens. “On the first day, it is usually pretty frantic, but it was generally very good. You can kind of see all the new guys and how they are on the ball as well as how everyone came back from the offseason. It’s a lot more fun than just straight running.”
A couple more notes below…
* Arena told reporters on Monday that Juninho will “probably” be at Galaxy training on Wednesday. Juninho is currently in Brazil awaiting his visa.
*The Galaxy dealt with windy conditions today that seem to cause a greater problem for the assembled media than the players. Stephens had this to say on the conditions: “Today was windy which is a surprise for L.A. because we’re used to it being sunny and calm every day. It was nice until we did the wind sprints after practice because I think these 15 or 20 mph wind gusts made it hard to run on one side of the field.”
*One of the players who impressed in practice on Monday was Brazilian defender Leonardo who has recovered from the knee injuries that have plagued him over the past two years. LAGalaxy.com writer Larry Morgan spoke to Leonardo to discuss his recovery.