The news that Phillip Anschutz's was maintaining ownership of AEG and President and CEO Tim Leiweke was departing the company was headline news across Southern California and did not go unnoticed in the LA Galaxy locker room.
But to better understand how the moves affect the LA Galaxy as a whole, I spoke with club President Chris Klein on how the moves will impact on the club's day-to-day operations, to learn more about new AEG President and CEO Dan Beckerman, and understand how Leiweke’s departure will change the Galaxy’s pursuit of Designated Players.
Read my Q & A with Klein below…
(On how the AEG changes over the past day…)
KLEIN: “In terms of the Galaxy and the way that we operate, this doesn’t change anything for us. I think two things came out [of Thursday]; one is that we’re no longer for sale, which is a good thing for the Galaxy. And the second thing obviously, is that Tim is no longer with the company. Although he will be greatly missed, we will move on and continue to operate business as usual.”
(On what should people know about new AEG President and CEO Dan Beckerman…)
KLEIN: “The first thing is that Dan has been great and while Tim was always the one that was out there, Dan has been intricately involved in everything that the Galaxy has done certainly since I’ve been here. I don’t think he’s going to be one to profess to be a soccer expert, but in speaking to him [on Thursday], the one message that he did have is that Phil continues to be committed to the Galaxy and the game of soccer in this country as he’s always been and the same goes for Dan as well."
(On whether the team loses something not having Leiweke around…)
KLEIN: “If you look at anyone who goes through a club, one thing that we know is that the Galaxy is going to be here long beyond myself, long beyond Mr. Anschutz, long beyond Bruce Arena, long beyond Tim Leiweke, and so this is something that we’re building that we hope is around for our kids and their kids. Do you miss a personality like Tim? Absolutely, of course you do, but like anything that we have whether you lose a player or a coach, there are other people that have to fill the void that is left.”
(On the other side, how important it is to have Phillip Anschutz around...)
KLEIN: “I’ve been around this league since 1998 and as long as I could remember, there were years when Phil owned six teams in our league and his commitment to the game of soccer in this country is unparalleled. You have other people who were there on the ground floor like he was, but to have him still involved in the game of soccer, especially with the Galaxy, should bring a smile to everyone’s face.”
(On how Leiweke’s departure could impact any potential Designated Player moves as he was instrumental in recruiting players like David Beckham and Robbie Keane…)
KLEIN: “Well, like I said, in speaking with Dan and everyone else, it is business as usual. We will continue to be the flag bearer in MLS. That includes our aggressive push for DP’s. Tim will no longer be there to do that, but we have other people in the organization who can fill that void and will continue to be aggressive in that market.”
(On whether not Klein feels confident the Galaxy can continue to attract top-level talent because of the brand that the team has…)
KLEIN: “I believe we can, yes.”
What are your thoughts on Klein’s comments?
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CONCACAF announced the complete schedule of CONCACAF Champions League Semifinals on Friday afternoon.
The LA Galaxy will open their series with two-time defending CCL champion Monterrey at The Home Depot Center on April 3 at 7 p.m. PDT before the team travels to Monterrey for the second leg at Estadio Tecnológico on April 10, which kicks off at 9 p.m. CDT local time and 7 p.m. PDT.
On the other side of the bracket, Seattle Sounders FC will host Santos Laguna in the first leg on April 2 at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, WA at 7 p.m. PDT before traveling to Mexico to Torreon for the the second leg on April 9 at Estadio Corona at 7 p.m. CDT local time and 5 p.m. PDT.
CARSON, Calif. –The SuperClásico may be just days away, but the news regarding the changes at AEG and particularly, the departure of AEG President and CEO Tim Leiweke by mutual agreement was big news at the LA Galaxy practice field on Friday.
Reporters spoke to Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena, LA captain Robbie Keane, attacker Mike Magee as well as defenders Omar Gonzalez and Tommy Meyer on Thursday’s news regarding AEG.
(On the news regarding the departure of Tim Leiweke…)
ARENA: “I love Tim Leiweke. I think that he’s one of the best things to happen to me in my career so I’m going to miss Tim. I can speak for everyone in our organization and we care a lot about Tim. He’s been a phenomenal person to work with, a great leader, and a real inspiration.”
KEANE: “I think everybody is surprised. He’s been great for this club and this league with everything that he’s done for AEG. For me personally, he’s the one that brought me to this club and I've got a lot to thank him for. Everybody was shocked as you can imagine, probably the same as you guys. We’re going to certainly miss him, he’s a great character, a great guy, and we’re certainly going to miss him coming into the locker room after games and before games. His enthusiasm for the Galaxy and the Kings was exceptional. For me, to have an owner and someone who runs the organization, he was probably one of the best that I’ve come across to be honest with you with the way that he was passionate about [the team], the way that he looks after his players, and the way that he deals with people. For me to come over from the U.K. to bring my whole family over here, he made it so easy for me and my family and I’m forever grateful for that. He will always be a good friend to me.”
MAGEE: “I’m very surprised. He’s obviously a guy who is so massive to what this league has become and a guy who went to bat for us when no one else really would. It’s definitely sad, we don’t know all the details and we read the same stuff that you guys do, but...you just remember the times when the league was kind of going south and he was the guy that stood up for the league and obviously put a boat ton of money in our team and this league when no one else would. It’s sad and hopefully he finds his way back some way.”
GONZALEZ: “Devastating, the night before, he was in the locker room congratulating us on going through and he seemed really excited about it and the next day, he’s gone. It happened that quickly, I think that everyone was just shocked and it is sad to see him go, but I’m sure that he’ll be fine wherever he lands. He was great to me; he was great to the Galaxy and the overall league. He will definitely be missed.”
MEYER: “I was surprised. He obviously meant a lot to the guys. He was close to us and had a lot passion for our team and everything L.A. He was a great and especially just being here a year, he took care of us.”
(On how his departure will impact the club…)
ARENA: “Well, we won’t have Tim, who was certainly a focal point of the Galaxy. We’re going to miss that, but we’re going to have the continued support of AEG. Nothing changes as far as we’re concerned. We’re never going to replace Tim Leiweke with Tim Leiweke, but having said that, I think I said this year, we’re not going to replace David Beckham. We’re going to have to move on, it’s unfortunate, but that’s what we’re charged to do…He’s the best. He’s the best person that I’ve ever worked for and I think the world of Tim. I can’t tell you how much of a loss it is for me personally, but that’s the business that we work in.”
MAGEE: “Hopefully it doesn’t. But like I said, he was doing so many amazing things. He set the bar pretty high. I couldn’t imagine AEG changing anything that it’s been doing with us, but it makes you think twice if it’ll be the same or not.”
GONZALEZ: “From what I understand, nothing is changing. We’re still going to be determined to be the gold standard moving forward and continue bringing in big names and to keep on winning championships. He started that movement with bringing in names, but now it’s up to us to keep it going and keep that standard high. We just have to do that day in and day out.”
(On whether his departure will change AEG’s role in running the Galaxy...)
ARENA: “We don’t believe so. We’ll have the same resources; it won’t be the same way as how we approached things. It can’t be. No one is going to replicate Tim in terms of the way that he does business. But it doesn’t mean that we can’t do as well, if not better. That’s our charge and we’re going to have to try to move forward and do the best we can.”
(On new AEG President and CEO Dan Beckerman…)
ARENA: “Dan has been a great guy and we’ve worked with him throughout. He’s extremely bright, very supportive, a different kind of personality than Tim for sure, but obviously a competent business man and a person that works with the utmost integrity so we’re very pleased to be continue to be able to work with Dan.”
GONZALEZ: “He’s been around for a long time. He’s just always there. He’s a really nice guy, a bit more reserved I think, but I think he will do a great job…I see him all the time and I’m sure that he knows what is going on.”
CARSON, Calif. – Jack McBean is hoping to McBean showed why he should be in contention for minutes with a stellar right-footed goal in stoppage time of LA’s 4-1 victory over Herediano.
In the third minute of stoppage, Robbie Keane was fouled setting up a free kick for Michael Stephens who caught Herediano off guard with his quick pass to McBean. The 18-year-old made his chance count as he fired his shot into from the left side of the box into the bottom right corner to seal LA’s win.
The goal was McBean’s first of the year, but his fourth of the competition pulling him in a three-way tie for second place among goal scorers. As he looks to earn valuable minutes in league play, McBean knew that he had to take advantage of his opportunity on Wednesday night.
“It’s very important,” said McBean. “We have a couple of injuries right now so I’m getting the opportunity to play a little bit and every time that I go in, I want to do something for the team and [Thursday] was a good night.”
McBean was the second Galaxy Homegrown product to score a goal as Jose Villarreal’s stunner in the 69th minute put LA up for good. Following the match, Villarreal admitted that he felt a sense of priding seeing two of LA’s Homegrown forwards bag goals in a pivotal match.
“It was good to see the homegrown products come out and score some goals for the team,” said Villarreal. “I’m happy for him.”
Could McBean’s performance against the Costa Ricans mean extended minutes against Chivas USA in the SuperClásico—and possibly even a start?
“Hopefully,” said McBean. “Anyway that I can help the team is good for me.”
CARSON, Calif. – Another must-win match against C.S. Herediano for Marcelo Sarvas and another win for a Sarvas-led team.
A year-and-three-months after leading L.D. Alajuelense past Herediano to win the Costa Rican Invierno title, Sarvas bested Herediano again as he helped the LA Galaxy to a 4-1 aggregate victory over The Florenses in the CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinals.
Partnered alongside Juninho, Sarvas and the Galaxy midfield controlled the midfield against a cagey Herediano side that was eager to find an away goal after going down in the 18th minute. Although the score line was an unflattering for the Costa Ricans, Sarvas lauded LA’s opponents, but don’t expect him to get any free drinks from Herediano fans during any future to Costa Rica.
“I think Herediano had a good game today. They had a good team; they made it hard for us. They make our result seem much more important because they played hard. They have a good team. I’m happy to beat Herediano and I’m happy to win with the Galaxy that is the most important.”
Now as the club looks towards a date with two-time defending CCL champion Monterrey in the semifinals, Sarvas is aiming to do what he can to lead LA to the final.
"We’re in the semifinals against a Mexican team and setting a new history," said Sarvas. "Everyone wants to play and we expect good things.”
CARSON, Calif. -- Yet another stellar performance is in the books for LA Galaxy Homegrown forward Jose Villarreal.
The 19-year-old bagged a stellar goal as he helped the Galaxy advance to the CONCACAF Champions League Semifinals for the first time in club history with a 4-1 victory over C.S. Herediano.
Villarreal wasn't the only young forward to score as fellow Homegrown product Jack McBean added LA's fourth goal in second half stoppage time. After a stellar performance by LA's young forwards, Galaxy captain Robbie Keane admitted that he was pleased with his young charges and their willingness to take chances towards goal.
"Of course," said Keane. "During training or when we're playing, I tell them all the time, I tell them to shoot. Every opportunity that you have in front of the goal, unless it's very plain that you can see that someone is in a better position, but if not, have a shot on goal. If you don't shoot then you don't score. You saw my goal there and probably seven times out of ten, the 'keeper makes a save, but if you don't know shoot you don't score."
During the MLS preseason media tour of New York, LA Galaxy captain Robbie Keane took on his Chivas USA counterpart goalkeeper Dan Kennedy in a game of FIFA13. The results? Quite entertaining.
Check it out below....
There will be no change in ownership for the LA Galaxy as The Anschutz Company announced on Monday that it will retain ownership of Anschutz Entertainment Group and terminate any sales process. But that does not mean there will not be any change at the top.
Chairman of AEG Phillip F. Anschutz will be taking a more active role in the company. Meanwhile, AEG President and CEO Tim Leiweke will be leaving the company by mutual agreement. Dan Beckerman, who has been with AEG for 15 years and has previously served as their Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer will be taking over for Leiweke.
Leiweke leaves quite the legacy in MLS as he was instrumental to helping the Galaxy acquire the likes of David Beckham and Robbie Keane.
“We appreciate the role Tim has played in the development of AEG, and thank him for the many contributions he has made to the Company. We wish him well in his new endeavors,” Anschutz said in a press release.
With AEG officially off the market, Anschutz, who has been a major investor in MLS since the league's inception was quick to reiterate his commitment to the growth of his company.
“From the very beginning of the sales process, we have made it clear to our employees and partners throughout the world that unless the right buyer came forward with a transaction on acceptable terms we would not sell the Company” said Anschutz, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Anschutz Company in a press release. “From the very first days of AEG, my vision has been to tie together world class real estate development structured around entertainment venues with premium sports and live entertainment content. In recent years we have developed related businesses to further promote and enhance the performance of AEG’s facilities for the benefit of our partners, including our sponsors, artists, consumers and the communities in which we operate. The Company’s operations will continue to be run by AEG’s experienced senior executive team, most of whom have been with AEG for over a decade. We will continue to set the standards in the industries in which AEG operates, bringing our unique vision and development model to entertainment locations throughout the world.”
Beckerman, who will take over for Leiweke as AEG's President and CEO offered these thoughts.
“Phil’s active reengagement in the operations of the Company has brought a renewed spirit and passion to the management team’s focus on AEG’s next steps” Beckerman said in a statement. “The Company has a number of interesting business opportunities, and the expertise of the management team and our 26,000 employees around the world will allow us to select those prospects that best enhance the Company’s performance. Priority projects going forward include the development of Farmers Field adjacent to our L.A. Live campus and the pursuit of our plan to bring the NFL back to Los Angeles, our recently announced initiative to collaborate with MGM to build a new arena in Las Vegas, the acquisition of ownership stakes and the associated refurbishment of several major global arenas in Europe and our ongoing investment in AXS.com, our ticketing and e-commerce platform, as we expand its capabilities for the benefit of our venues, partners, performers and consumer end-users.”
What are your thoughts on the changes?
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CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy are through to the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals for the first time in club history and waiting for them is two-time defending CCL champion Monterrey.
Los Rayados (the pinstripes) may currently be in 7th place in the 2013 Clausura, but they pose a major test for the Galaxy with their full assortment of stars including Chilean forward Humberto Suazo as well as Mexican Internationals Sevro Meza and Jesus Zavala, among others. Monterrey has been particularly skilled in the CCL as they knocked off Real Salt Lake in the 2011 final and then Santos Laguna in 2012.
As Galaxy's focus turns to the Mexican giants, their success is not lost on head coach Bruce Arena.
"Monterrey has been the best club team in our region for a number of years now," said They’re the best team, they’re the team to beat, so it’s going to be a very big challenge for our club."
But perhaps, Galaxy defender Todd Dunivant put it best by stating that the match is not only important for the Galaxy, but for MLS as a whole.
"It’s exciting, it’s something that the league is looking to get over the hump with México and Seattle did a great job of winning their last series [against Tigres]. It’s the first time that ever happened so we want to continue that," said Dunivant. “This is big for our league. We really want to continue to push the envelope and win our region then start being the dominating force in this region."
CARSON, Calif. –Carlo Cudicini saw his 264 minute shutout streak snapped, but the LA Galaxy’s Italian goalkeeper was impressed by LA’s defensive play in their 4-1 victory over Herediano to seal a berth into the CONCACAF Champions League Semifinals.
Cudicini made just two saves on the night, but his first was vitally important as he swatted an Ismael Gomez free kick away in the eighth minute of play to keep the tie level. Just ten minutes later, Omar Gonzalez nodded in a Juninho corner and LA never looked back from there to seal the 4-1 victory.
Cudicini will look to extend LA’s shutout streak in MLS play—which of course, stands at 90 minutes—during Sunday’s SuperClásico against Chivas USA.
Below Cudicini discusses his partnership with the Galaxy back four…
(On his chemistry with the back four…)
CUDICINI: “We’re working hard during the week to try and improve it. The more we play together, the more hopefully we can get results. I think we’re doing all right, we’re not conceding much, which is good. In front of me I have excellent players.”
(On the partnership of Omar Gonzalez and Leonardo…)
CUDICINI: “They are doing a very good job. They’re very concentrated, good personalities and that helps on the pitch. To be fair, whoever plays in front me, whether A.J. [DeLaGarza] or Omar, they’re very good players. They’re young but they have experience, they can read the game well. It’s good.”
(On his vocal nature…)
CUDICINI: “It’s not just one thing; I try to keep them concentrated during the game. Especially when you’re winning two-, three-nil your concentration tends to go a little bit. I just want to keep them on their toes. Mainly as a goalie want to try to have a good line in front of you, keep the defense compact, just try to help them as much as I can from behind. Which you hope is what they do it when you need help.”
(On his adjustment to the Galaxy…)
CUDICINI: “I’ve said before, it’s not a short process. It takes time, games, and training sessions. We’re just at the beginning, and hopefully it will be even better in the future. We cannot think that because we are a good team, things will just come to us. We need to work hard. As you can see today, winning easily three nil, we just switched off for a second and we concede a goal. We always want to keep 100 percent concentration.”