CARSON, Calif. -- Gyasi Zardes returned to the LA Galaxy before the team's trip to Europe loaded with confidence after his successful stint with the U.S. National Team.
During the USMNT's annual Winter camp, Zardes made his first two appearances for the national side including an influential start during their 2-0 victory over Panama last Sunday. Following two days off after a month-long training camp, Zardes rejoined the Galaxy where he admitted that he was feeling an extra pep in his step.
"This preseason has been wonderful for me. Just jumping in a new environment [with the USMNT]," said Zardes. "You always gain confidence the more you play, no matter what team you play on. Being with the camp helped me grow. My method is once you find rhythm try to keep it. Bring that to a new atmosphere. I’m just trying to get better and take advantage of every opportunity I get. Stay humble and level-headed. That’s how I grow."
Jair Marrufo was named the head referee for the LA Galaxy's MLS regular season opener against Chicago Fire on March 6 at StubHub Center.
The Professional Referee Organization made the announcement official on Tuesday that El Paso, Texas native will ref the league's 2015 season opener. Marrufo will be joined by assistant referees Frank Anderson and Corey Rockwell, and fourth official Alejandro Mariscal.
Maurrfo presided over 16 MLS regular season games in 2014 and two LA Galaxy MLS Cup Playoff games including their 5-0 victory over Real Salt Lake in the Western Conference Semifinal and their Western Conference Championship second leg match against Seattle Sounders FC.
Bradford Jamieson IV pleased with the U.S. Under-20's draw for the upcoming U-20 World Cup in New Zealand
CARSON, Calif. – Bradford Jamieson IV and the U.S. Under-20’s learned their opponents for this summer’s U-20 World Cup in New Zealand late Monday night.
The U.S. was drawn into Group A alongside hosts New Zealand as well as Myanmar and Ukraine. Tab Ramos’ squad will open the tournament against Myanmar in Whangarei on May 30 before facing the Kiwis on June 2 in Auckland. They'll end the group stage just three days later against Ukraine.
“It was a good draw for us,” Jamieson told LA Galaxy Insider on Tuesday. “We’re going to be playing against the hosts so obviously it’ll be a good game with a great turnout. We know that no team can be taken lightly and if we are considered the favorites then we have to prove everyone right and top the group.”
Heading into a tournament as favorites is nothing new for the U.S. U-20’s as they entered into the 2015 U-20 CONCACAF Championship as top favorites to not only advance but win the group. However, the competition hardly went according to plan as the U.S. needed to defeat El Salvador in a playoff match to lock down a World Cup berth.
According to Jamieson that experience should aid the U.S. side as they look to make a name for themselves in New Zealand.
“[That tournament] just goes to show that anything can happen in these tournaments,” said Jamieson who scored two goals in six appearances at the CONCACAF qualifying tournament. “Those teams came from smaller countries like some of the teams in our World Cup group so they’re coming to prove themselves. It’ll be a place where our players can showcase our talents to the world.”
Soon after returning from Jamaica, the 18-year-old quickly put himself in the conversation for the Galaxy’s left midfield role with strong shift against Seattle Sounders FC in a preseason scrimmage. But despite his recent success, Jamieson understands that there is still plenty of work to be done before he locks down a spot on Ramos’ final roster for New Zealand.
“My mentality has to be on point and my physicality has to be as close to 100 percent as possible,” said Jamieson. “I just need to keep working hard and stick to what I know and do what I’ve been doing to get to where I am now.
“It gives me confidence that Bruce has been giving me time in the [left midfield position] because obviously I want to continue to prove them right and give back to the team and the club. I just want to keep working so that I can solidify my spot in that position.”
Landon Donovan is certainly keeping busy in his retirement as the LA Galaxy and U.S. Soccer legend dropped a retirement update on Facebook on Tuesday morning.
Major League Soccer's all-time scoring king who had the league's Most Valuable Player trophy named after him less than a month ago has been traveling across the world in recent weeks including trips to India and the Maldives after returning from the Galaxy's Herbalife promotion trip of South America last December. The 32-year-old who retired after helping the LA Galaxy win MLS Cup in December also announced that he's intending to enroll in college as he seeks to complete a long stated goal of a college degree.
But the biggest news of the post was that Donovan has announced his engagement to his long term girlfiend Hannah.
"I'm in the process of enrolling in college and have started many other exciting ventures that I've always been passionate about," he said in the Facebook update. "Lastly, and most importantly, I recently got engaged to the love of my life, Hannah. I have never been this happy and I'm excited for our future together!"
Congratulate Donovan and see the full post below.
Preseason notes: Robbie Rogers gets run out at right back, decision on LA Galaxy trialists may come before Europe Trip and more
CARSON, Calif. – Robbie Rogers excelled with the LA Galaxy as a left back last season, but during Friday’s 2-1 scrimmage victory over Seattle Sounders FC, he showcased his versatility.
Rogers started and went 45 minutes at right back while Todd Dunivant started along the left side. The switch allowed Dunivant to slide into his natural position while Rogers—who is naturally right footed—was slide into a new place along the back four.
"That's an option and obviously we're in preseason, we'll look at all options,” Arena told reporters of the outside back switch. “As we experienced last year during the season, we have to have players prepared to play a number of spots along the back line and that's a good exercise for us to get in today.”
Added Rogers, “I can play on both sides wherever Bruce needs me. It is a little different in terms of finding the space on the field so I have to get used to that, but it comes pretty quickly.
For Dunivant, Rogers’ move to the flank could be his path back into the starting lineup after an injury-riddled 2014 season.
“It is still the preseason so we’re still trying to figure out what combination works. It’s all about getting better,” he said. “I need to earn the spot in training and continue to learn every day and get better. I’ll let the cards fall where they may and I think if I’m healthy and Robbie is healthy then we’ll both be on the field one way or the other.”
Decisions on trialists upcoming
The LA Galaxy will likely have a decision on whether they will keep trialists Andre Auras, Edson Buddle and Ramon Martin Del Campo with the club prior to the trip to Europe.
In an interview with reporters earlier this week, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said that a decision was a possibility before the team departs for the Republic of Ireland at the end of the week.
Draft picks Ignacio Maganto and Daniel Keller are expected to travel to Europe while injured goalkeeper Andrew Wolverton will not join the team until they return from Europe. Meanwhile, defender Daniel Steres who had been training with the club since the start of the season has been dealing with a calf injury.
A.J. DeLaGarza may return to practice next week
Right back A.J. DeLaGarza has yet to suit up for the Galaxy in a scrimmage during the preseason due to a leg injury, but head coach Bruce Arena assured reporters earlier this week that he'll be back in practice before the team departs for Europe.
"It's possible that he'll be training next week," Arena told reporters after the club's 2-1 victory over Seattle Sounders FC. "We're not sure yet at this point."
New Designated Player Steven Gerrard will don the No. 8 for the LA Galaxy once he arrives in July, the club announced on Thursday.
The English midfielder is expected to play his first team on July 17 when the Galaxy host the San Jose Earthquakes in the California Clasico at StubHub Center. Gerrard has donned the No. 8 jersey for Liverpool since 2004.
Check out Albert Lanzillo and LAGalaxy.com's video of the LA Galaxy's new No. 8 above.
LA Galaxy defender Oscar Sorto relishes quick return to U.S National Team camp and pleased with overall USMNT experience
CARSON, Calif. -- Oscar Sorto had just received our nation's highest honor when he was honored along with the rest of the LA Galaxy by President Barack Obama at the White House on Monday, but within minutes of being recognized by the commander in chief, he learned that nation's top soccer coach was in need of his services.
Immediately after the ceremony that honored both the LA Galaxy and Los Angeles Kings for their respective championships, Sorto was motioned over by Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena for a quick chat.
Jurgen Klinsmann was calling and he needed the 20-year-old defender to jet back to California immediately.
"Right after the President gave his speech, Bruce told me that Jurgen Klinsmann called and he wanted me back for two days," Sorto,who was called back to the Galaxy just before the USMNT departed for Chile, said. "I flew back right away and I think that was good because now the coaches know that I really want to be with the team. It was a good two days of training."
Sorto will not be in the picture for the USMNT when they take on Panama on Sunday at StubHub Center, but the Galaxy Homegrown product took pride in the fact that he was able to experience life with the national team, not just for two quick days, but throughout the last month.
"It helped me a lot because it made me realize that I could compete with any player," he said. "No matter who they are, I know that I can be competitive and I can compete. And at the end of the day, it'll be up to me to earn a spot with the Galaxy. ."
CARSON, Calif. -- A total of 12 LA Galaxy Players including standouts Malcolm Jones and Rey Ortiz signed letters of intent on National Signing Day on Wednesday.
UCLA is the well-represented school as the Bruins signed Jones, forward Robert Knights and goalkeeper Dakota Havlick to a recruiting class that is expected to be one of the finest in college soccer. The Bruins were not the only local school to earn multiple Galaxy Academy commitments as Cal-State Northridge earned the signatures of midfielder Juan Orozco and U-18 leading scorer Adrian Vera. UC Berkeley also nabbed the commitment of two Galaxy Academy players as standout U-18 forward Rey Ortiz and midfielder Christian Segovia signed with the Golden Bears.
Also signing were midfielder Santiago Digiuseppe (University of San Francisco), defender Élan Koenig (University of Wisconsin), forward Dylan Smith (UC Riverside), goalkeeper Bennett Sneddon (Duke), and defender Michael Lopez (UC Irvine).
Although all 12 players signed with colleges on Wednesday, they remain eligible to suit up for the Galaxy Under-18's during the 2015/16 Development Academy campaign.
Bruce Arena says LA Galaxy still looking to add player and shoots down Freddy Adu rumor in Washington Post interview
Bruce Arena reiterated his desire to acquire an additional player to bolster the LA Galaxy ahead of their 2015 MLS campaign in an exclusive interview to the Washington Post’s Steven Goff on Tuesday.
In his brief Q&A with the Washington Post, Arena reiterated prior comments that the club is looking to add to their roster at some point in the near future.
“We’ll add some more players at some point, either before the season or later,” Arena told Goff.
Should that player be a particularly prominent one particularly after the Galaxy came up short in the chase for U.S. international Sacha Kljestan?
“Anyone who can help us. Whether he fits that definition or not, we think he will be an important player. If we find the right player, we will try to bring him in.”
One name that you can completely rule out is Freddy Adu who Arena vehemently stated that he has had zero contact or interest in bringing the former U.S. international into the fold.
“I don’t think he is a target for us at the moment,” Arena said. “Freddy Adu’s name always comes up. He has come up for the last 10 years. He will not be on trial with the LA Galaxy.”
WASHINGTON – Trips to the White House still offer a player as established as LA Galaxy and U.S. National Team defender Omar Gonzalez the chance to feel the same type of joy that he felt when he strapped on his cleats as a kid in Texas.
Gonzalez had a little fun at the expense of a White House intruder of the same name on social media, but when he addressed the media, the 26-year-old defender was in awe of his great fortune to be honored by President Barack Obama for a second time.
“It’s been an amazing experience,” said Gonzalez. “Never did I imagine that I’d be here at the White House so many times for winning championships. It’s something that you don’t even think about it because when you’re young you only want to become a professional athlete. To be a pro athlete and then come to an organization where you have the chance to accomplish such great things, it’s incredible.
“Last year was an incredible year for all of us with all the storylines that were there and this is the culmination of all the hard work. It’s simply a great experience.”