Chad Barrett’s move to Norway is official.
Barrett’s loan to Norwegian club Vålerenga has been finalized and according to the 27-year-old forward --who says his contract with MLS ends after this season -- the deal comes with an option to buy. Barrett departs for Oslo on Wednesday morning, but spent Tuesday morning training with his LA Galaxy teammates for one final time. Following training on Tuesday, Barrett spoke to the local media about his move to Norway and his future with his new club.
Below are Barrett’s quotes…
(On how did the move come about…)
BARRETT: “It’s one of those things, one of those reasons that you don’t want to use. But I love the guys in this team, even when I was away on my trial, I missed playing with them. At the same time, it was something that I needed to do for me personally. The guys were on fire here and we’re really deep at forward. I was approached by my agent, who said there was interest overseas and it was a team that I almost went with when I was with Toronto. The coach was still there and asked if I’d be interested, he said yes. Bruce was nice enough to let me go so I went on trial there. I loved it; it was a different kind of good, in every aspect. I lose the beach, I get the culture. I lose the team; I get a new set of good guys. The best thing is that they all speak English over there so it’s not too bad.”
(On what he wants to accomplish there…)
BARRETT: “I think that every American-born soccer player always wonders if they have what it takes to play overseas and play in other leagues. If anything else, it’ll be good for me to go on this loan and see how other countries play. We know what they play like when they come here and play against us in the World Football Challenge, but how does their league stack up to our league. From what I’ve seen in the Norwegian league is that it’s not too dissimilar. Technically, they’re all very technically good. Athletically, I think that we’re a little more athletic over here. That’s where we have to make up for our technically ability, but there are a bunch of great players and I’m really looking forward to the opportunity.”
(On whether his contract ending at years-end being a reason to head to Norway…)
BARRETT: “It could be. Without all the pay raises for next year and obviously, I didn’t produce as well as I should of, so there are a lot of factors that go into it. Ultimately, this is probably what is best for me at this particular juncture. Like I said, I hate bringing politics into this locker [room], but that’s why we have agents and sometimes you got to do it.”
(On his impression of Norway…)
“It was the first time that I had been, it was a beautiful city. It’s in Oslo, there’s an old Oslo and a new Oslo. The training grounds are in old Oslo and the stadium is in new Oslo…it has the old beauty and culture and the new modern stuff around it so it’s cool to see the mixture. The cobblestone streets and amazing parks with the great statues so I did a bit of that and then a bit of shopping, I’m not going to do that again."
(On the reception from the Norwegian players reception…)
BARRETT: “Right from when I got there, they were really welcoming. It’s a really close-knit group of guys; most of them are Norwegian so they got good chemistry with each other. But I know that [Portland Timbers goalkeeper Troy] Perkins played over there so when we were going up to Portland, I was going to talk to him then and pick his brain. But he contacted my agent when I was over there and told me to say hello to the guys for him. I talked to Pat Noonan; he played in Norway for six months as well. He was just giving me the lowdown about what to expect. When the sun is out, the sun is out and when it’s dark, it’s dark so it’s going to be an interesting and eye-opening experience. But I moved every three years of my life so I’m used to it and I take it as a new adventure and I look forward to it."
(On what the club wants to see from him…)
BARRETT: “Goals. Put the ball in the back of the net. They’re pretty upbeat about me coming up there so as soon as I get there, I’m sure that it’ll take me one or two weeks to get my sleep schedule right and the jet lag gone. Once that is gone, I’m looking forward to getting down to business and try to help them finish in the top three."
(On the team’s playing style…)
BARRETT: “I don’t know yet. I’ve seen some highlights of their games, but I haven’t watched a full game yet. I was there for a week where they had a good amount of training because that’s what they wanted to see so I wasn’t able to see their games. They play a game on Friday that I’m maybe dressing for or maybe not. It’s going to be pretty tough; it’s pretty close to when I land."
(On the team’s performance…)
BARRETT: They’re in fifth place, five points out of third. It’s a sixteen team league and the top three go to Europa so that's the goal."
(On how close he was to joining the club earlier…)
BARRETT: “It was almost a coin toss. I just wasn’t mature enough to go overseas and live on my own and accept the four year deal there. It was too much at the time plus I still wanted to take classes [at UCLA]. It was 50/50 for awhile there, and then Toronto won me over while I was there.”
(On missing this team…)
BARRETT: “These guys are like my family. Every team that you get on, you build a brotherhood with these guys. I think a bunch of them are going to help me move today. I wanted to spend one last day with them and it was great to be able to practice with them and knock the ball around one last time. I wish them all the best; I know that they’re going to win it again this year especially with the way that they’ve been playing. There’s no team that can stand in their way. There are good teams on paper, but with the trio playing the way that they’re playing and everyone else stepping up…I’m excited for the way that they’re heading. I wish that I could stay and help them do it again, but I’m sure that they can do it without me.”
(On what he takes from his time with the Galaxy…)
BARRETT: “Winning that trophy. You know, this was the first team that I’ve been on since college where there was just a winning attitude in every game. Every time that we approached the game, every field that we stepped on, it didn’t matter who it was, it didn’t matter if we played Real Madrid—we thought we could win. I’m going to try and take that with me and apply it to any team that I’m on from now on. It was just a good experience, playing with the class players like Beckham, Donovan and Keane. What they bring to the game and the IQ that they have and the class that they show, day in and day out makes you better as a player. Then all the guys, up and coming, I’m really excited to see what happens with their careers. Guys like Juninho, Jose Villarreal, Hector Jimenez; they’ve all really impressed me since last year. Then as soon as Omar Gonzalez gets back from his knee injury, I know that he’ll move on to bigger and better things. I could go down the list and say how I’m going to miss each guy, but I’ll just say collectively that they’re a group of guys and heading in the right direction and I’m going to miss them."
(On where he envisions himself in nine months…)
BARRETT: “It’s going to be a crazy five months. Everything is going to happen quickly, this has happened very quickly. It is part of our profession, it’s something that you have to do, you have to pick up and move. I was joking with everybody that I wish I had a wife right now to pack up the kitchen or something because I’m doing everything myself right now. It’s just part of the game, and it’s an unfortunate part of the game because you never want to leave, but in this case, I had to.”
FRISCO, Texas -- A enormous weight was lifted off the shoulders of Omar Gonzalez on Saturday night.
In front of more than 100 family and friends, the LA Galaxy center back -- and Texas native -- went a full 90 minutes for the first time since offseason knee surgery. In the Galaxy's 1-0 victory over FC Dallas, Gonzalez was solid while partnered alongside David Junior Lopes in LA's central defense. Amid the triple-digit temperatures at FC Dallas Stadium, Gonzalez repeatedly stifled Dallas' scoring chances and was even able to help create a scoring chance of his own in the first half.
After a difficult six month rehabilitation period, Gonzalez told reporters after the match that the Dallas match was an important -- physical and mental -- step in his recovery.
Gonzalez’s post game thoughts are below…
(On playing the full 90 minutes...)
GONZALEZ: “I didn’t think I’d come back after the first half because it was so hot and I had cotton mouth the whole time, but I’m happy I did get through it. I knew I was fit enough to get through it and we’d already made two subs. I knew that I was going to have to push through it and I’m happy to get through it for the team, I’m happy to get the three points and happy to get the shutout.”
(On playing in his home state with the intense heat...)
GONZALEZ: “I really wanted to play well here, especially because I had so many friends and family here. They were behind me throughout the whole surgery and all the rehab. I’m happy I got to play here, start the game and play well. It was crazy heat here, but I think that it was a good test and this is a good step in the right direction for me.”
(On the play of the defense...)
GONZALEZ: “We had good shape the whole game. We didn’t really sit back. We actually put a lot of pressure on them. We actually got around [David] Ferreira and we got around [Andrew] Jacobson and didn’t really allow them to do much of anything. I thought that we brought the game to them and played really good soccer. If it was a cooler day, I think it would have been even better for us because we would have worked harder and played a little bit faster.”
(On how many friends and family, he had in the stands…)
GONZALEZ: “I don’t know, I’ll see when I get out there, but from what I saw, there was at least a hundred.”
(On if he had doubts that he’d ever reach his peak form after his injury…)
GONZALEZ: “Yeah, sometimes I still think about it. Yesterday during training, I made a boneheaded play and I thought ‘man, what am I doing?’ I got pretty down on myself yesterday, but those are just things that I have to get over and I thought I did a good job here today. Putting it behind me and just focusing on the game.”
FRISCO, Texas. –The following quotes are Bruce Arena’s post game thoughts following the LA Galaxy’s 1-0 victory over FC Dallas.
(On the result…)
ARENA: “It was a good result for our team tonight. We’ve played awfully well over the last month so we’re getting ourselves in good shape and making progress.”
(On players stepping up without Landon Donovan or Bruce Arena…)
ARENA: “That’s all part of it. It’s issues that we deal with all the time and it’s not an excuse. It’s not an excuse. I think [FC Dallas] played the LA Galaxy tonight so whatever 11 shirts are on the field, it’s the Galaxy. You always miss players so that’s all part of the challenge.
(On Robbie Keane and Mike Magee combination up top…)
ARENA: “It was okay. I think that, obviously, the goal was big but they were pretty dangerous. They did a good job, no question about it.”
(On Omar Gonzalez’s first 90 minute performance…)
ARENA: “Remarkable. We didn’t think that he’d quite make it to 90 minutes so it was a good week for him with 65 minutes against Tottenham and 90 minutes tonight. He’s well on the road to recovery.”
(On the defensive performance...)
ARENA: "The guys did well. We just did well. They hit a lot of crosses. And you know when we have two big centerbacks and big goalkeeper in there.. It’s a little bit easier for us when we haven’t had that situation this year. In a lot of ways those are balls that, you know that fall in our favor. It’s a good effort. [Bryan] Gaul had another good game and A.J. DeLaGarza continues to play well in defense [Sean] Franklin played well at right midfield and Keane’s leadership was critically important for us tonight."
(On how the team managed the heat…)
ARENA: “How do I think that the team managed the heat? Survived. It’s very difficult playing in these conditions tonight. Our guys hung in there and they were pretty efficient with the way that they played. They handed the heat pretty well.
CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy rookie Rafael Garcia is still learning the right back position and during the club’s 1-1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur, the midfielder turned outside back received the lesson of a lifetime.
In his 45 minute stint against Tottenham, the rookie from Cal-State Northridge was matched up against the likes of Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon, who orchestrated the Spurs attack as they pushed for the go-ahead goal. Despite having just a handful of appearances at the position under his belt, Garcia did not shy away from the challenge as he helped the Galaxy defense grind out a draw against the English Premier League club.
Garcia's thoughts are below...
(On being out there against top players…)
GARCIA: “It’s a great experience. Going up against Bale was certainly not easy and then going up against Lennon too. It certainly was not easy, but I gave my all and I like to think that I did pretty well.”
(On settling into outside back…)
GARCIA: “It’s not my natural position, but when you get the opportunity, you need to learn how to adapt quickly, but it was good for me. I enjoyed my time there.”
(On what Bruce Arena has told him about playing as an outside back…)
GARCIA: “For me, it’s all about getting minutes. I’ll do it any position so for me it was a good experience and any position that he wants to play me, I’ll be happy to contribute.”
(On how the rookies performed in the second half…)
GARCIA: “You know, I thought we did pretty well at times. They got in behind us a few times, but I thought we defended well overall and we had maybe one or two chances, but against a team like that if you get one or two chances then you take them. One thing about the young guys is that we’re trying to prove ourselves and any chances we get we’re going out there and we’re fighting till the end.”
CARSON, Calif. – Energy is a key part of Michael Stephens' game so it was no surprise that the LA Galaxy midfielder was the only player from the Galaxy to go the full 90 minutes in Tuesday night's 1-1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur.
In 90 minutes of action against Spurs, Stephens was able to provide constant pressure on the Tottenham midfield as he helped the Galaxy hold on to the draw. But in the end, it wasn't just Stephens' grit that made an impact as he also played a role in helping Marcelo Sarvas set up David Junior Lopes' game-tying-goal in the 28th minute of play.
Stephens’ post game thoughts are below:
(On his role in Lopes’ goal…)
STEPHENS: “I waited too long. If I had given it to Marcelo earlier, he could have had a better shot. I took too long and I gave it to Marcelo and that was his only choice at that point, but it worked out.”
(On the team’s play in the first half…)
STEPHENS: “I felt like in the first half especially, they had a high line and we did a good job playing some longer balls and ended up getting some breakaways.”
(On Robbie Keane’s confidence level vs. his old team…)
STEPHENS: “I don’t know but I thought that he looked really good. I thought he had a really good game, he was getting a lot of the ball and he was helping us a lot in the first half by being an outlet.”
(On what he learned…)
STEPHENS: “The one thing is when they get the ball; they go forward and they go forward quickly. I think that most of the guys on their team have a lot of pace and they didn’t really take their time to build up, they just went for it as soon as they got the ball."
(On playing against Gareth Bale…)
STEPHENS: “I thought that he was impressive and probably the most impressive player on their team. When he got the ball, he was pretty dangerous.”
CARSON, Calif. -- After a shaky start to his time as a member of the LA Galaxy, David Junior Lopes has begun to find his form in an LA uniform.
Lopes has started the last nine league games for the Galaxy and was in the starting XI on Tuesday for LA's 1-1 draw with Tottenham. To cap off his run of form, Lopes added his first goal in a Galaxy uniform against Spurs netting with a cool finish off a Marcelo Sarvas cross.
Lopes' quotes are below...
(On his first goal with the Galaxy...)
LOPES: "I’m very happy for the team and myself. I’d be a lot happier if it had been in league. Still, against a big club from a big league, overall I’m very happy."
(On his comfort level with the Galaxy...)
LOPES: "Today, I feel very good. Every day I talk to my coaches, I talk to my teammates, things are getting better, and right now they’re really good."
(On if he feels like he belongs on the team...)
LOPES: “The Galaxy, definitely, is my life now. Every day I get to learn more about the club and the club gets to learn more about me. Progressively doing more within the club, that’s probably the best thing."
CARSON, Calif. -- In the span of a week, Jose Villarreal's life has changed significantly.
Villarreal scored his first professional goal last Wednesday, helping the Galaxy salvage a point in a 2-2 draw against the Vancouver Whitecaps. The goal itself was world class -- which is nominated for MLS goal of the week -- and has helped the youngster draw significant media attention since. On Monday, LA-based reporters caught up with Villarreal ahead of Tuesday's clash against Tottenham Hotspur, a match that the 18-year-old midfielder is expected to play a significant role in.
Villarreal's quotes are below...
(On the reception since his goal…)
VILLARREAL: “It was blowing up, my phone was vibrating in the locker room and I was trying to find a way to shut it off. It was good though; all my teammates just hit me in the head and threw socks at me. It was fun.”
(On his goal…)
VILLARREAL: “There are a couple of guys that can do that, but I’ve just been watching Robbie and obviously you pick up some stuff from them. I’m happy that I picked that up.”
(On playing Tottenham...)
VILLARREAL: “If the chance is there then I’ll take advantage of it, but I’m looking forward to having a good time and enjoying it. Playing against Van der V aart, Bale all those players, they’re great players and it’ll be a great time.”
(On what player he'd most like to face on Tottenham...)
VILLARREAL: “Van der Vaart.”
(On his mentality against Vancouver…)
VILLARREAL: “Before I came in, I was telling myself that I couldn’t be nervous because if I was then I was going to play nervous and that wasn’t going to help the team so just be mentally focused and do what you do.”
(On learning from Keane and Donovan…)
VILLARREAL: “When we’re doing finishing or small sided goals, I ask them what type of movements or how to finish and stuff like that. They obviously tell me and even if I don’t ask then they tell me.”
(On the one thing that training with them has taught him…)
VILLARREAL: “Just speed of thought. When you get the ball, you need to know what you’re going to do before you even get it. Just getting into good spots before you even touch the ball then you’re eventually going to get the ball and do what you do.”
(On the praise since his goal…)
VILLARREAL: “It feels good and I’m very happy. All of a sudden, I have a lot of friends now; I don’t know where that came from. I’m very happy and I appreciate the coaches and family for their support and everyone here from the staff everyone…they all supported me before my injury and now that I’m good, I’m just going to keep going from here.
Following Tottenham Hotspur’s open training session at the Home Depot Center on Sunday, assembled media got a chance to speak with the Rafael van der Vaart about the upcoming friendly against the LA Galaxy.
Van der Vaart’s thoughts below…
(On new head coach André Villas-Boas…)
VAN DER VAART: “There’s a new coach, I think that [former head coach] Harry [Redknapp] did a great job, but the club decided something else. He’s a young manger and a great manager and he wants to prove something after his few months with Chelsea. We want to win something and I think that we have a great squad and that’s why it’s so important to have a good preseason in LA. “
(On AVB’s approach benefiting his game…)
VAN DER VAART: “It’s always difficult to say and I don’t like to say what is better and what is not. Every manager has his own style and I think that Harry did a fantastic job. [Villas-boas] is an honest man and I think that the team will have to work hard and I think it’s a little bit different when you’re manager of a national team as opposed to a club, but he can do it. He’s a great man.”
(On facing Donovan, Beckham and Keane…)
VAN DER VAART: “They’re great men. I’ve played with Keano of course and he’s a great lad. It’s good that those kind of players play [in MLS] because soccer can become bigger and bigger in America so it’s a good sign.”
The Galaxy face Tottenham Hotspur on Tuesday, July 24 at The Home Depot Center. Tickets for that match are still available, starting at $40, at www.lagalaxy.com/tottenham
In an interview with Fox Soccer’s Mark Rogondino, longtime US International goalkeeper Brad Friedel spoke about playing in the United States and facing the LA Galaxy with Tottenham Hotspur in Tuesday’s friendly. A former UCLA Bruin and native of Ohio, Friedel has spent one season with Tottenham after stints at Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers and Liverpool among others.
Friedel also amassed 82 caps with the US national team and was the goalkeeper for the US during their run to the quarterfinals of the 2002 World Cup.
Friedel’s quotes from the interview below...
(On coming back to America…)
FRIEDEL: “It’s strange, the only time that we’d come to the States when I was with Blackburn, I’d always seem to miss out so it’s nice to come back especially to LA. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen some of my old friends and I’ll see a couple of them tonight so it’s good.”
(On his preparations for the upcoming season with Tottenham…)
FRIEDEL: “Personally, I just get through preseason and make sure that I don’t have any injuries. I think that mainly what the boys do is that you just want to pick up fitness. Having a league that’s in the middle of the season also helps us because their fitness levels are a lot higher than ours are. Having a new manager, he’s going to want to use this game to see all the players, which is very important for him as well. All in all, coming in on tours like this are a good bonding experience with the new staff and the new players so these are very good.
(On facing the LA Galaxy and the rising standard of MLS…)
FRIEDEL: “For many years, many people were asking about MLS and they were always asking about the [contract] figures that they saw in the paper with Beckham so they’d ask me, ‘can you get me there? can you get me there?’ But the notoriety of MLS has come on incredible amounts especially with Thierry Henry and [Robbie Keane] coming over here and David Beckham of course. Also the likes of Landon Donovan when he comes over and does really well at Everton and that picks it up and Keano did really well with Aston Villa when he came back. All those things help the league. We have take our hat off to all the financial people who have kept in the game with MLS because there were a couple of times where it was on really shaky ground and they’ve stuck with it and put a really good product on the field now.”
Robbie Keane has come alive lately and shined once again during the LA Galaxy's 3-1 victory over Chivas USA.
Keane added a goal and an assist against Chivas to bring his total to nine goals and five assists on the year. Since returning from the European Championship with Ireland, Keane has tallied six goals and three assists in seven games.
Keane's postgame thoughts below...
(On combining with Landon Donovan…)
KEANE: “Yeah, I think that we combined quite well, we made it difficult for their defenders with our movement and the way that we were linking up. Overall it was a good night for us.”
(On the improvement of his connection with Donovan…)
KEANE: “That’s not what it’s about me, it’s about the team. We weren’t good enough before the European Championships and as a group; we weren’t good enough so it was simple as that. It was always going to come around that were going to pick things up and start getting results and that’s been the case.”
(On being nervous before Euros…)
KEANE: “No. I didn’t have one chance in six games before I left for the European Championships. The team wasn’t playing well.”
(On the reason for his five goal month of July…)
KEANE: “The team is performing better as a team. It’s simple as that really. We have the same team that we had last year and we weren’t playing well. For some reason or another before the break, we weren’t playing well as a team, but we’re doing that now.
(On his loan spell in the offseason setting him back…)
KEANE: “Maybe so. But I think that the players know each other enough now and if we don’t know each other now then we shouldn’t be playing together. It doesn’t have anything to do with breaks, the players know each other and we just went through a bad spell, which every team usually goes through. Thankfully, we’ve picked up and we can see that we’re a threat to anything.”