Blog

06 September 9:35 am

The signing of Christian Wilhelmsson by the LA Galaxy sent shock waves in MLS circles as club's prepare for the stretch run, but I was curious about how the move played in his native Sweden.  

In order to find that out, I reached out to one of Sweden's most respected soccer journalists Olof Lundh. Lundh is Editor-in-Chief at noted Swedish soccer website fotbollskanalen.se and also works for Sweden's biggest TV-channel TV4. He has covered the Swedish national team since 1997. It was Lundh who reported that Wilhelmsson had signed a deal with the Galaxy on Monday after he joining LA in training on Friday.

Below is my conversation with Lundh wherein he explains where Wilhelmsson is in his career, his prospects with the Swedish national team and even the origin of his nickname "Chippen"...

Where is Chippen in his career at the moment and how do you feel that he can be best utilized on the field?

LUNDH: "He can't stop aging and of course turning 33 in December makes it tougher to perform at the highest level, but he has a body that is pretty easy to get in shape and i very seldom injured. I think most people were surprised of his performance for Sweden before and during the European Championship and he has always been pretty popular since he is an offensive player. He had a couple of tough years in the national team and was actually dropped but he fought his way back and won al lot of respect after that. He is best on either the right or left wing and should get the ball a lot and always take on the opponent."

How will Wilhelmsson's move affect his chances with the Swedish national team and what are the perceptions of MLS in Sweden?

LUNDH: "He has a great possibility to be a factor in the national team. Right now Seattle's Adam Johansson is with the national team so I don't expect that a move to LA and MLS will make it difficult for Wilhelmsson as long as he gets to play regularly and performs. The status of MLS has grown the last years with more and more big name players moving there. Wilhelmsson didn't play that much in the European Championship this summer but he was sensational when Sweden beat France. The competition isn't that great either so it's very much up to Wilhelmsson if he wants to be part of the WC-qualifying."

What should LA Galaxy fans know about Wilhelmsson as a player and as a person?

LUNDH: "He is always happy and easygoing and that is a joy for a group like the Swedish national team. Teams need a guy that helps everyone feel welcomed and part of the group and who also performs and is serious with his football. LA Galaxy not only got a great guy but also a player who in his best moments is a powerful winger that can create a lot of chances. LA Galaxy should know that his nickname in Swedish is 'Chippen' which is 'The Chip'  in English and he got it as a kid because he was really good with the chip shot." 

05 September 4:12 pm

When the signing of winger Christian Wilhelmsson was announced on Wednesday morning, the LA Galaxy section of the “Twitterverse” rang with worry not over the Swedish international’s form or pedigree, but because of his number.

Wilhelmsson will wear the number nine for the LA Galaxy, a number that carries some stigma in the fan base due to the alleged under performance of those that don the shirt.  For a little perspective, I decided to pop in the old 2012 LA Galaxy media guide for my own look at this apparent phenomenon.  

Below is a list of all the Galaxy players to wear the number nine shirt throughout the club’s history and their performances in MLS regular season play…

2012: Midfielder Christian Wilhelmsson with nine league appearances in regular season and MLS Cup Playoffs, scoring one goal and one assist. 

2012: Forward Chad Barrett with 18 league appearances, scoring one goal and three assists.

2011: Forward Juan Pablo Angel with 22 league appearances, scoring three goals and one assists.

2010: Forward Jovan Kirovski with 21 league appearances, four goals and two assists.

2009: Forward Jovan Kirovski with 22 league appearances, two goals and one assist.

2008: No number nine.

2007: Forward Gavin Glinton with 19 league appearances, four goals and zero assists.

2006: Forward Guillermo Gonzalez made zero league appearances.

2005: Forward Guillermo Gonzalez made zero league appearances.

2004: Forward Guillermo Gonzalez with six league appearances, scoring zero goals and zero assists.

2003: Forward Alex Pineda Chacon made six league appearances, scoring zero goals and zero assists.

2002: Forward Brian Mullan with 21 league appearances, scoring three goals and two assists.

2001: Forward Brian Ching with eight league appearances, scoring one goal and one assist.

2000: Forward Seth George with 14 league appearances, scoring one goal and zero assists.

1999: Defender/Forward Jose Vasquez with zero league appearances.

1998: Forward Jose Botello with two league appearances, scoring zero goals and zero assists.

1997: Goalkeeper Jorge Campos with 19 league appearances, scoring zero goals and two assists.

1996: Goalkeeper Jorge Campos with 24 league appearances, scoring zero goals and one assist.

A few notes: Jovan Kirovski leads all-time scoring of number nine's with six goals and three assists. Meanwhile Gavin Glinton (2007) has scored the most goals over one season with four while Chad Barrett (2012) has tallied the most assists with three. Wilhelmsson will also become the first Galaxy midfielder to don the nine shirt. 

As you can see, the Swedish winger will have his work cut out for him in terms of performances, but with an accomplished roster and extensive European and International pedigree, there is no reason that Wilhelmsson can’t become the club's most effective number nine.

05 September 2:50 pm

LA Galaxy Academy stalwart Paul Arriola has been called up by United States Under-18 head coach Javier Perez for the youth national team's upcoming training camp in Netherlands. 

A forward, who played for the U.S. in the 2011 U-17 World Cup, Arriola played a key role with the Galaxy during the past two GA Cups, but will play his first U.S. Development Academy season with the Galaxy at the U-18 level this season. Arriola spent last season with Temecula-based youth club Arsenal at the U-16 level, scoring an impressive 15 goals in 17 games. Arriola leaves tomorrow for the training camp that will see the U.S. U-18s train from Sept. 6 through the 17th. During the week, the team is scheduled to participate in friendlies against the U-18 sides of Feyenoord Rotterdam, Borussia Dortmund and Club Brugge.

The complete U.S. U-18 roster is below:

GOALKEEPERS (2): Ethan Horvath (Unattached; Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Zackary Steffen (Maryland; Downington, Pa.). 
DEFENDERS (5): Michael Amick (De Anza Force; Sunnyvale, Calif.), Suliaman Dainkeh (DC United Academy; Reston, Va.), Dylan Greenberg (Albertson SC; Dix Hills, N.Y.), Trevor Haberkorn (Solar Chelsea SC; Roanoke, Texas), Jalen Markey (Seattle Sounders FC Academy; Renton, Wash.). 
MIDFIELDERS (6): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas; Plano, Texas), Marco Delgado (CD Chivas USA; Glendora, Calif.), Romain Gall (FC Lorient; Herndon, Va.), Jacori Hayes (Baltimore Bays; Bowie, Md.), Piakai Henkel (Amiens FC; Arcata, Calif.), Kristian Scott (Stoke City, Winterbourne, England) 
FORWARDS (7): Jordan Allen (Real Salt Lake Arizona; Rochester, N.Y.), Paul Arriola (LA Galaxy; Chula Vista, Calif.), Julian Green (Bayern Munich; Tampa, Fla.), Benjamin Lopez (Real Salt Lake Arizona; San Diego, Calif.), Zach Pfeffer (Philadelphia Union; Dresher, Pa.), Ben Spencer Jr. (CD Chivas USA; Albuquerque, N.M.), Travis Wannemuehler (Indiana Fire Academy; Evansville, Ind.)

 

05 September 11:24 am

With the LA Galaxy announcing the signing of Christian Wilhelmsson on Wednesday, the question that arises is just where will the Swede fit into the Galaxy's starting XI.

A winger with the ability to play on both flanks -- he was stationed on the left for 45 minutes during Tuesday's Reserve League match and the right for the remainder--, Wilhelmsson brings quite the European pedigree with a lengthy international career with Sweden and stops at clubs like Italian giants Roma and Spain's Deportivo La Coruna. With a resume like Wilhelmsson's it is no doubt that the Swede has arrived in Southern California to fight for a place in the Starting XI, but it may be difficult for him to acquire one immediately. 

When the club is in full strength, the Starting XI looks a bit like this, with a few potential changes including Marcelo Sarvas moving to either flank and Hector Jimenez sliding in on either flank for Sarvas and Mike Magee... 

------------------------Saunders---------------------

Franklin---DeLaGarza---Gonzalez---Dunivant

Sarvas----Beckham-------Juninho----Magee

--------------Donovan--------Keane---------------

However, in my opinion, the Galaxy will likely move to this lineup with the inclusion of the Swedish International...

------------------------Saunders---------------------

Franklin---DeLaGarza---Gonzalez---Dunivant

Sarvas----Beckham-------Juninho----Wilhelmsson 

--------------Donovan--------Keane----------------

While this does drop Magee to the bench role, it keeps Sarvas on the field with Juninho as the pair has formed a highly effective trio with Beckham as of late. Meanwhile, it allows for Wilhelmsson to influence the attack and use his dribbling skills to create opportunities for the likes of Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane  For a player who has been praised for his ability to be a direct winger -- including in this analysis from the tactics website Zonal Marking about his substitute appearance against Ukraine during Euro 2012 -- the chance to be paired alongside a capable defender like Todd Dunivant, should allow him to become more active in the attack.  However, that being said, I would not be surprised to see Bruce Arena opt to place Wilhelmsson on the right flank thus allowing Magee to continue to earn minutes on the left while Sarvas drops to the bench. 

What is the best formation for Wilhelmsson? Where do you see him fitting in?

Share your thoughts and formations below. 

05 September 10:21 am

In a video interview with LAGalaxy.com, newly signed Christian Wilhemsson spoke about his move to the LA Galaxy.

Below is a transcript of the interview with the video embedded below:

(Welcome to the Galaxy…)

 WILHELMSSON: “Thank you very much; I’m very pleased to be here now. The deal is done and I’m very happy and very excited to join the team.”

 (On describing himself as a player to fans…)

 WILHELMSSON: “I’m not good at describing myself, but I’m a winger. A left midfielder or a right midfielder, quite fast. But we’ll see, they’ll have to see when I get on the field.”

 (On what he knows about the league…)

 WILHELMSSON: “I know that the league has been in progress over the last couple of years. I’m very excited to play in the MLS and I’m looking forward to get started and to get on the field, of course. It’s a new adventure that starts now and I’m very excited.”

05 September 9:54 am

The LA Galaxy announced on Wednesday morning that they have signed Swedish International Christian "Chippen" Wilhelmsson.

Wilhelmsson has been training with the club since last Friday, a fact that was first reported on the Insider and went 58 minutes during Tuesday's Reserve League 2-0 defeat to the San Jose Earthquakes. Wilhelmsson will officially be added to the Galaxy roster pending the receipt of his P-1 visa and International Transfer Certificate (ITC).

A winger, Wilhelmsson joins the Galaxy after a lengthy career in Europe that included stops in Sweden (Mjallby), Norway (Staebek), Belgium (Anderlecht), France (Nantes), Italy (Roma), England (Bolton Wanderers), Spain (Deportivo la Coruna), Saudi Arabia (Al-Hilal) and Qatar (Al-Ahli).  He has also made a total of 78 appearances for the Swedish national team, scoring nine goals while participating in the 2006 World Cup as well as the 2004, 2008 and 2012 European Championships. 

Wilhelmsson will wear the number 9 for the Galaxy. He'll be available to the media for the first time following Thursday's training session.

04 September 6:33 pm

When the LA Galaxy Academy coaching list was finalized several weeks ago, one name stood out above all. Current LA Galaxy defender and long-time New Zealand International Andrew Boyens would take up an assistant position coaching the LA Galaxy Under-15 side alongside head coach Alex Yi.

Despite taking the assistant coaching job with the Galaxy Academy, Boyens shows no signs of slowing down in his professional career as evidenced by a strong performance during his strong showing in LA's 4-0 CONCACAF Champions League victory over the Puerto Rico Islanders.

Recently, I caught up with Boyens to discuss his new venture...

BOYENS: "Coaching is something that I’ve always been interested in. I got the opportunity to work alongside Alex Yi who is a good man and I get there as many days a week with our schedule. I’m really enjoying it."

(On whether he approached the Galaxy for the chance to coach...)

BOYENS: "I definitely approached them. I went and saw Chris Klein and said that it was something that I was interested in and we kind of went from there. I went along a few times just to check it out and they needed to take that role and it just so worked out that I could do it."

(On whether he plans to pursue coaching after his playing career...)

BOYENS: "I’ve always really enjoyed coaching and I’ve done it for a long time ever since I was 16 and it’s something that I really enjoy. Whether I pursue it or not is  a question up in the air, but it’s definitely good to get some experience especially with some quality young kids."

04 September 5:03 pm

 

LA Galaxy Youth Academy product Alexander Ramos has been called into the United States Under-15 Boys National team.

Ramos-- a defender for LA's Under-15 side from Reseda-- joined the U.S. U-15 team on September 1st for a week long training camp with 36 other prospects at The Home Depot Center. The U.S. U15's, which are coached by Tony Lepore will train at The HDC from Sept. 1st to Sept. 8th. 

Although Ramos is the only Galaxy player listed, nine of the 36 players called up come from Southern California. 

The complete U.S. U-15 roster by position is below:                                       

GOALKEEPERS (4): Christian Hererra (Real Salt Lake AZ; Casa Grande, Ariz.), James Marcinkowski (San Jose Earthquakes; Alamo, Calif.), Kevin Silva ( Players Development Academy; Bethlehem, Pa.), Justin Vom Steeg (Santa Barbara SC, Santa Barbara, Calif.)

DEFENDERS (10): John Antunez (New York Red Bulls; Fairfield, N.J.), Hugo Arellano (Southbay Gunners; Norwalk, Calif.), Guillermo Bermudez (Albion SC; San Diego, Calif.), George Braima (Columbus Crew Soccer Academy; Columbus, Ohio), David Chavez (Juventus Sport Club; Redwood City, Calif.), Henry Martin (New York Red Bulls; New York, N.Y.), Erik Palmer-Brown (Sporting Kansas City; Lee’s Summit, Mo.), Quentin Pearson (Colorado Storm; Longmont, Colo.), Alexander Ramos (LA Galaxy; Reseda, Calif.), Maximilliano Stiegwardt (Minnesota Thunder; Maple Grove, Minn.)

MIDFIELDERS (16): Coy Craft ( FC Dallas; Glade Spring, Va.), Lucas De La Torre (San Diego Surf; San Diego, Calif.), Collin Fernandez (Chicago Fire; Downers Grove, Ill.), Haji Abdulkadir (New England Revolution; Manchester, N.H.), Cameron Lindley (Indiana United Fire; Carmel, Ind.), Maduabuchi Obinwa (Chicago Magic PSG; Lake Forest, Ill.), Adolfo Ovalle (Real Salt Lake; Layton, Utah), Pablo Pelaez (Albion SC; San Diego, Calif.), Christian Pulisic (PA Classics; Hershey, Pa.), Martin Salas (FC Dallas; Dallas, Texas), Kyle Scott (Chelsea FC; Winterbourne, England), Orestis Sousonis (New York Red Bulls; Dover, N.J.), Sebastian Saucedo (Real Salt Lake AZ; Casa Grande, Ariz.), Alejandro Vergara (Chivas USA; Long Beach, Calif.), DJ Villegas (Davis Legacy; Sacramento, Calif.), Sean Wilson (Players Development Academy; Bethlehem, Pa.)

FORWARDS (6): Malcolm Dixon (New York Red Bulls; Glenridge, N.J.), Joe Gallardo (Nomads SC; San Diego, Calif.), Christian Lucatero (Houston Dynamo; Pasadena, Texas), Joshua Perez (Chivas USA; La Habra, Calif.), Christian Ramirez (FC Dallas; Farmers Branch, Texas), Jorge Ruiz (Chivas USA; Mission Hills, Calif.)

04 September 4:34 pm

Much of the focus of the LA Galaxy's 2-0 Reserve League defeat to the San Jose Earthquakes centered on the performance of Swedish international Christian Wilhelmsson, but the Swede wasn't the only attacking talent being evaluated on Tuesday. 

Forward Edson Buddle went 45 minutes and nearly tallied a goal during LA's 2-0 loss. Buddle's Reserve League stint comes after the 32-year-old forward made a pair of brief appearances as a substitute in a pair of games last week , the forward's first since undergoing right knee surgery in June. During a conference call with reporters following the match, Galaxy reserves coach Curt Onalfo commented on Buddle's performance. 

ONALFO: "Edson was good, he looked fine. He held up the ball, he was fairly good at times, but it was good for his progression to get those minutes under his belt." 

04 September 4:00 pm

Sweden International Christian Wilhelmsson went 58 minutes as the LA Galaxy fell 2-0 to the San Jose Earthquakes in Reserve League action on Tuesday at Nutrilite Training Facility in San Jose.

The Swede, who joined the club in training last week was a consistent threat for the reserves playing primarily on the left flank, but was whistled for four offside calls during his 58 minute stint including one that negated a goal early in the first half. In a conference call with reporters following the match, Galaxy reserve league head coach Curt Onalfo described the offside calls as "controversial", but was quick to praise the Swede. 

"I thought that he created some things. He's a pure wide player so was able to get into some situations that were good for our team," said Onalfo. "Like I said, there were four controversial offside calls that we didn’t think were offside that would have turned the terms of the game...he had a good performance.”

The match was the first performance for the Swede -- who has reportedly already signed with the Galaxy according to reports in Sweden -- since an August 15th international friendly against Brazil. Although Wilhelmsson was unable to find the back of the net in his first match, Onalfo was encouraged by his showing in his first match in several weeks.

"For him it’s about getting minutes and utilizing this as an opportunity to advance He played fine, he played well," said Onalfo. "You can tell that he has a lot of quality and that he’s a very quality wide player. He’s a good and very clever wide player."