Part One: Q&A with Pablo Mastroeni reflecting on his 16-year MLS career and time with the U.S. National Team
Pablo Mastroeni ended his illustrious career on Tuesday and I had a chance to speak to the midfielder on his favorite moments of his career and his plans for the future.
As part one of my two part interview with Mastroeni, he discusses his career and why he decided to move on from playing.
Check it out below.
LAGI: "What made you decide to retire at the age of 37, was being separated from your family the most important aspect?"
PM: “In the end, that ended up the biggest part. One of the questions that I asked myself was ‘from a professional perspective, why do I want to keep playing? What’s the milestone that you want to reach?’ and to be fair, I couldn’t think of one that was so tempting that I would possibly move away from the family or relocate. At the end of the day, I have an eight-year-old boy and a six-year-old girl, and I think that these ages are critical to have good parents around. I feel like that I ended my career on my own terms as far as being healthy rather than have any injury like concussions dictate my exit. I’m stepping away from the game feeling good and ready to start a new path.”
LAGI: “How do you think that you’ll be remembered? When people look back, how will they remember Pablo Mastroeni?”
PM: Well, I don’t know, I learned in this business that you need to have a tough skin because people are going to say some good things and some will be very critical. It’ll depend on just who you ask. If you ask a casual fan, he’ll say that ‘he was just a bruiser’ while someone who is a bit more sophisticated will say that he was technical and aggressive but held down the middle of the field. However, for me, I’d like to be known as a guy that came to work every day whether it was practice or training, held myself and those around me to a high level, and most importantly got along with all the guys in the locker room. For me, the locker room was like a sanctuary and a brotherhood where we were all fighting for the same cause. I don’t know what people will say about my career, but I’m completely satisfied with I achieved, but I couldn’t be happier."
LAGI: “What have you thought of the immense reaction that you’ve gotten from across the soccer community? Tons of people have been coming forward to reflect on your career.
PM: “It’s pretty humbling because you realize how important it is to get to know people and share your passions and your perspective. I think that the game of soccer is always an excuse to be social and to get all these messages and phone calls is pretty powerful. It’s humbling and a real joy to be able to know so many people and be friends with so many people.”
LAGI: “What would you say was your greatest moment as a player?”
PM: “It had to be captaining the 2010 Colorado Rapids to MLS Cup. It was one of those teams where we needed to put together four good games. We were a team that very few people on the outside believed in, but the coaching staff and the organization knew that we had something special in that locker room. This retirement would have been so different for me if I had not won anything, yeah, I won a couple Gold Cups, but I wanted to win a championship which is the greatest thing in sports. Being a part of that team is something that I cherish most.”
LAGI: “What about your experience with the national team? How do you think that you’ll best remember that and, specifically, your role in the U.S. 2002 World Cup campaign?”
PM: My experience with the national team was great and I think that I was fortunate because there were circumstances where I was able to go from not playing a qualifier to starting [at the 2002 FIFA World Cup]. Looking back, it was such a blur and I don’t recall a lot of 2002. We had to come right back to our club and never had a moment to relish in those moments of awe. My national team experience was awesome though because I saw places that I never thought that I would see, played with great players and even played against some great players as well. It was really an eye-opening experience and that is something that I really cherish. People don’t understand the magnitude of those moments and when I think back, I realize that I’m a lot stronger than I thought. Putting it in words is almost taking away from the magnitude."
LAGI: “Does that mean that the U.S. victory over Mexico is part of the blur too?”
PM: I don’t really remember that and I've seen the video of Cuauhtémoc Blanco is standing over me looking like he’s going to punch me a hundred times, but it was just part of the blur. You’re flying to different cities, playing in different games then before you know it some guys are on Jay Leno, and you get home thinking ‘what just happened?’ That game was awesome because it was two CONCACAF rivals and we came away victorious and this is one of the experiences that I can’t wait to share with others."
Much more in part two later on Wednesday.
With the announcement of new LA Galaxy goalkeeper coach Matt Reis, LAGalaxy.com has compiled a photo gallery of Reis' time with the Galaxy.
Check it out below.
The LA Galaxy announced on Wednesday that former LA and New England Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis has become the club's newest goalkeeper coach.
Reis' appointment comes amid the goalkeeper's retirement from soccer ending a 16-year career that saw him make 288 appearances, 282 starts, with 110 wins, 1,114 saves and 75 shutouts. The 2013 MLS Humanitarian of the Year and Mission Viejo, Calif. native reached MLS Cup six times during his extensive career winning in 2002 while with the LA Galaxy.
In addition to working with the first team, the 38-year-old will also work with Galaxy Academy goalkeepers. Reis replaces Ian Feuer who had been the club's goalkeeper coach since 2007.
Soccer may not be a game of statistics but when it comes to fitness and training, numbers could be very helpful.
Huffington Post's Katie Linendoll speaks to Galaxy players and Strength and Conditioning coach Ben Yauss to discuss the adidas miCoach equipment and how the team uses it during training and matches.
Check out the video below...
MLS lost one of their all-time greats on Tuesday as Pablo Mastroeni retired on Tuesday ending his illustrious 16 year playing career.
A hard-charging field general in central midfield, Mastroeni calls full time on a career that saw him suit up for the Miami Fusion, Colorado Rapids and LA Galaxy while making 334 MLS regular season appearances (eighth all-time in league history), playing 27,522 minutes and earning 316 starts (both fifth most all-time). The veteran defensive midfielder was also a fixture on the U.S. National Team for nearly a decade as he made appearances in the 2006 and 2006 FIFA World Cups making a total of five appearances. However, he also played in four CONCACAF Gold Cups—winning in 2005 and 2007 –as well as making an appearance at the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2003.
My lasting memories of Mastroeni stem from the grit that he showcased on the field breaking up opposition attacks and the eloquence that he displayed when answering questions from journalists. A remembrance of Mastroeni’s career is not complete without discussing his confident performance in the U.S. historic 2-0 victory over Mexico in the 2002 FIFA World Cup round of 16 as he befuddled El Tri’s Cuauhtémoc Blanco and his ability to lead the Colorado Rapids to the 2010 MLS Cup.
During his brief time with the Galaxy, it was always interesting to see him impart his advice on the club’s young players of all positions -- like Jack McBean who actually lived with Mastroeni in Manhattan Beach toward the end of the season -- who were eager to learn from a league great.
What’s next for Mastroeni? The tough as nails yet cerebral midfielder could head into coaching in some capacity with the Colorado Rapids. With his family still in Colorado, Mastroeni could spread his extensive knowledge of the game while also staying close to home. The Rapids have stated that they intend to honor Mastroeni for his service to their club at a ceremony during one of their home matches in 2014.
But no matter what Mastroeni decides to do with the next stage of his life, he’ll always be remembered as one of the league’s greats.
Below are some memories from a few others from around the league:
Pablo Mastroeni was someone you wanted on your team both on the field and off because he made it that much more worth it. #legend
— Taylor Twellman (@TaylorTwellman) December 10, 2013
— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) December 10, 2013
Probably nobody in the sport that I respect more than Pab's. What an honor to play next to a legend. My Captain forever... #ThanksPablo
— Drew Moor (@drewmoor) December 10, 2013
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) December 10, 2013
What’s your favorite Pablo Mastroeni memory?
Share them below.
One of the league's all-time greats announced his retirement on Tuesday ending a 16 year career in MLS that ended with a brief stop with the LA Galaxy. Along the way, Mastroeni appeared in two World Cups in 2002 and 2006 while spending his entire career playing between the Miami Fusion, Colorado Rapids and the Galaxy. Mastroeni had been out of contract with MLS and was available for the 2013 MLS Re-Entry Process before announcing his retirement.
“After spending the last 16 years playing in Major League Soccer and with the U.S. National Team, I have decided that this is the appropriate time to retire from the game,” Mastroeni said in a statement. “I am honored to have spent my entire professional club career playing in MLS and I now look forward to watching this league continue to grow as I begin the next stage of my life.”
During his time in MLS, Mastroeni made the MLS All-Star team nine times and currently ranks eighth in league hstory with 334 regular season games played, fifth in all-time games started with 316 while scoring seven goals and 27 over his illustrious career.
“We’d like to congratulate Pablo on his 16-year professional career,” said LA Galaxy General Manager and Head Coach Bruce Arena in a statement. “Pablo is a special player who made every team he was on better. His presence, work ethic and enthusiasm for the game made him a successful player on both the club and National Team level. We wish Pablo well in the next step of his career.”
What is your favorite memory of his career?
Share it below.
LA Galaxy Academy forward Haji Wright scored in the U.S. Under-17's 2-1 defeat to Portugal at the Nike International Friendlies on Monday.
Wright scored in the 13th minute to give the U.S. a lead, but the Europeans quickly answered with a goal in the 27th minute to tie the score. Portugal took the lead for good in stoppage time to defeat the Americans.
The U.S. return to action on Wednesday against England who fell 2-1 to Brazil in their first match.
There’s a number of intriguing players up for selection in the 2013 MLS Re-Entry Draft Process and I’ve highlighted four prospects that may be of interest for the Galaxy in either Stage One or Stage Two of the process.
As one point, all four of these players are selections that I would anticipate in Stage Two when teams can renegotiate their salary numbers. I also won’t be selecting players who were on the Galaxy’s squad in 2013 although Franklin and Courtois are interesting options to possibly return.
One of the most exciting players on the list, Espindola struggled in his only season with the New York Red Bulls, but could be a valuable asset to a Galaxy squad searching for further scoring options.
Espindola scored nine goals in 28 appearances with New York with two assists after being traded from RSL. Prior to his time with NYRB, Espindola was a dangerous weapon for Real Salt Lake scoring 35 league goals with 17 assists in six seasons with the club.
During that time, Espindola scored four times against the Galaxy as he was able to terrorize LA with his speed and finishing ability.
The LA Galaxy are searching to add a target forward and former FC Dallas forward Kenny Cooper could be that option.
Cooper can be versatile even playing on the wing in some occasions but he may be able to benefit the Galaxy with his size and aerial threat. That being said, Cooper is likely to be a costly option for a Galaxy team that is likely to reshape its payroll amount in the coming years. The 29-year-old scored six goals for FCD in 31 appearances in 2013.
Cheaper options could include Andre Akpan formerly of the Colorado Rapids or Toronto FC’s Justin Braun.
DEWAYNE DE ROSARIO
The 2011 MLS MVP is an extremely intriguing selection, but is coming off a season that saw him make 24 appearances and score just three goals for a D.C. United side that finished at the bottom of MLS.
Despite his tough season, there’s no doubt that De Rosario has the type of finishing touch and playmaking ability that could make him an asset for the Galaxy alongside Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan. Plus with Donovan expected to be away for several matches due to international commitments next season, De Rosario could be an apt stopgap.
All this may be moot; however, as according to a report in the Toronto Sun, his former club Toronto FC is open to bringing back the Canadian international. De Rosario isn’t the only MLS MVP on the list, however, as he’s joined by 2010 selection David Ferreira who saw his option declined by FC Dallas.
Calen Carr has had major health issues over the past two seasons, but when healthy, Carr has the type of speed that could make him useful in 2014 for LA.
Staying fit has been the knock against Carr who has dealt with knee and concussion issues over the last several years. Although Carr was predominantly used a forward in Houston, the 2012 MLS Cup goal scorer could transition to a wide role with the Galaxy where he could use his speed to stretch defenses.
Plus with his injury concerns, Carr would likely be a cheap low risk, high reward option for the Galaxy. Similar to this idea could be ex-Seattle Sounders FC midfielder Steve Zakuani who was one of the Sounders’ regulars before a dramatic knee injury in 2012 or former New England Revolution outside back Kevin Alston.
*For options that may be further down the list, but players like Yordany Alvarez and Bobby Boswell may be interesting options as is Joel Lindpere.
The LA Galaxy will have four players available for the 2013 MLS Re-Entry Process including 2008 MLS Rookie of the Year Sean Franklin.
The Galaxy declined options on Colin Clark, Laurent Courtois and Sean Franklin while Pablo Mastroeni was out of contract. Franklin made 40 appearances in all competitions for the Galaxy in 2013 with two goals and three assists. Clark, who joined LA in the 2012 Re-Entry process made just 13 appearances much of them at the start of the season while both Mastroeni and Courtois—each acquired in midseason trades—made less than 13 appearances.
Stage One of the Re-Entry Process will take place on Dec. 12 at 12 p.m. PT while Stage Two will take place on Dec. 18 at 12 p.m. PT. Remember that little action typically takes place in Stage One as clubs have to sign a player at their 2013 salary or extend a Bona Fide Offer to that player and teams have until Dec. 11 to negotiate with those players made eligible for the process. Following the first stage, the action typically gets even more heated as teams look to either bring back players or make selections in Stage Two of the process.
The field is set for the 2013 NCAA College Cup at PPL Park in Philadelphia.
Maryland, who produced Galaxy stars A.J. DeLaGarza, Omar Gonzalez and Robbie Rogers, booked their ticket to the national championship in Philadelphia with a 2-1 victory over California in Berkeley on Saturday. They'll face Virginia, who rose to soccer prominence under the leadership of Bruce Arena, who led the Cavaliers to five titles in 18 years as the team's head coach. The Cavaliers defeated the North Carolina 1-0 last Friday.
In the other semifinal, New Mexico will take on Notre Dame after defeating Washington 1-0 in Seattle. Notre Dame defeated Michigan State 2-1