Blog

21 February 11:21 am

Trialist Mika Vayrynen bagged a goal for the LA Galaxy during their 1-0 victory over Shamrock Rovers on Saturday, but his future with the club is still up in the air.

The 33-year-old Finnish international currently with HJK Helsinki had spells at Dutch giants Heerenveen and PSV as well as with English club Leeds Unite during his 15 year professional career.  Vayrynen began training with the club during the first days in Dublin, but after the victory over Rovers, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena says no decisions have been made on the Finn just yet.

“I’ve not made any decisions with Mika at this point,” Arena said. “I’m going to get that sorted out over the next couple of days.”

Meanwhile Trialist Edson Buddle was unable to suit up against Rovers due to an unspecified injury. 

20 February 7:39 pm

Life is a process of continual evolution for LA Galaxy defender Robbie Rogers both on the field and off.

In my latest piece for LAGalaxy.com, I spoke to Rogers about his attempt to reconnect with U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann and the defender’s perceptions on his legacy as the first openly gay athlete in a major American professional sport. However not all of my conversation with Rogers made the story. 

Below are other excerpts from Rogers discussing his book Coming out to Play and his continued growth as a soccer player and a person.

(On his decision to write his book…)

ROGERS: It was definitely more about – After I came out publicly and had that relation from people which was something that I didn’t think would happen in a million years, I realized that I could write a book about my story which so many people can relate to. The biggest difference that I’ve made is just being on the field and then afterward writing a book and going into detail and exposing a vulnerable part of myself helps as much as being on the field and playing.

 (On his transformation as a gay athlete…)

ROGERS: “For me, it was about first whether my teammates respected me and if they did respect me and enjoyed playing with me. Of course, you want to accomplish things on the field. This year, especially, I was never thinking of myself as a gay athlete. That’s the big difference between 2013 and 2014, last year I was on the road and I was the only gay guy and I had to deal with that which wasn’t because of how I was treated by the team but what I was dealing with. This year, there were so many times where it just wasn’t even an issue. I never had to talk about it. This year, I realized that when the book was coming out then but I would just not think about it.”

(On how Rogers ultimately hopes that he’s remembered when he decides to retire…)

ROGERS: I hope that I have a good enough career and I’m successful enough that people just think about me as a player on the Galaxy who helped win championships and played for good teams. I hope teammates like Landon, Robbie and Omar can remember me as a guy on their team who was a good soccer player and a good person, regardless of me being gay or straight.

(On whether he understands the conceptual change within him…)

ROGERS:  I was so introverted and I was so afraid to have close relationships because I was afraid that people would get to know me. I was afraid to be this crazy person on the dance floor. I was so afraid of so many things and this year, it was so completely different and I’m so happy that I’m able to enjoy it. After all, if you can’t enjoy winning a championship, what is the point of being a professional soccer player? What’s the point of being successful in any career if you can’t enjoy the little moments where you have a triumph.  I think a lot of people can’t enjoy moments because they want to move onto what’s next, but I know that in that moment especially after what happened a few years earlier, I just had to cry. I was happy to show that emotion to them as well that they see that he’s human.

(On the distinct difference between how he acted as a child and today…)

ROGERS: It’s really sad. It’s so sad how depressed and how homophobic I was to myself. I was simply isolated and alone, and afraid to share this side to anyone even myself. It’s been two years since I came out and it’s incredible how different things have been. My family wasn’t ready to support same sex marriage but now they can’t wait till I get married. It’s crazy how things change so quickly. I can’t explain that. It’s really changed overnight.

(On whether he expected any anger from his stories in the book…)

ROGERS: This is all a learning experience. Everything in the book is the truth but I’ve just been supported by everyone that I spoke about in the book. I was able to then come out and move back to the states and go through everything that I went to. I heard the most ridiculous things from people who love me so much and I realized that they’re not homophobic  they say things because their church tells them to or to make people around them laugh or they’re supposed to. I learned that people aren’t homophobic but have this pack mentality which I was part of when I was younger.

(On dealing with the locker room mentality and the focus that has gotten since his announcement…)

ROGERS:  When you live that your life, you’ve seen in it. Whether it was Columbus or Leeds or Holland or college or even when I was younger in High School, you hear on a daily basis that you shouldn’t be such an [expletive] or don’t be so gay. These are really things that you think when you are gay and you are raised that is wrong and you hear them, it slowly chips away at you. It makes you feel like you ever accept that side of you that something will change and they might not accept you.  It scared the [expletive] out of me.

(On how his own insecurities played into the writing of his book…)

ROGERS: I didn’t know the book would be so therapeutic. Just sitting with Eric and writing and talking for hours and hours helped me realized that I was raised for so long in an environment where I couldn’t express myself. I’m still really bad at expressing myself and being open with people because for 20 years, I wasn’t. Nothing changes over night. But Eric would say to me that he’s 50 and he’s still working on all his flaws. I didn’t realize that was going to happen or take place. Our hope was to write a book that would reach people that had a gay son or knew someone that was gay and could read this and pass it along, but also help that person [that was reading]through whatever they were dealing with.

(On a unique experience speaking to people a book signing at a Los Angeles CostCo...)

ROGERS: Usually when you have an appearance or a book signing, people know who you are but at Costco, they don’t have a connection [with a gay person]. People were coming up to me asking who I and I’d tell them, they’d sit there and read the book. They’d stand there and just keep reading then tell me ‘oh my gosh, this is a great story. It’s so great that you’re doing” then they ended up buying a copy and telling me, I’m going to read this or give it to someone else and pass it along. I thought that this is great because not all these people are gay but they can read the story and connect to it. They realize that it’s about someone who has a coming out experience that feels isolated and depressed at some point. They can pick the book up and relate to it. That was our hope, to connect with people that weren’t necessarily in the LGBT community but felt that they had a coming out (either they had a divorce or changed religions and had to confront their family about it) we knew that.”

(On his perceptions on the frustrating 2013 season with the Galaxy…)

ROGERS:  It was weird. Even last year, I thought to myself that I hope other people come out because I didn’t want to be the only gay athlete. I remember that 2013 was tough. I remember saying to my family that even when you come out, everything isn’t great. You’re still struggling with a lot of things. This year was more about finding a balance and being at peace with what I’m doing. I’m not just a gay athlete, I play for the Galaxy, I’m a left back and we have a good team. It was more than just that. It was just figuring out my life and being comfortable. I had just come out six months before I started playing with the Galaxy. It’s not like you just come out and you’ve solved everything in life because you’re still a 20-something trying to figure stuff out. But the book did help me figure out stuff about myself.”

20 February 9:24 am

Robbie Keane will not be losing his LA Galaxy captiancy to incoming Designated Player Steven Gerrard, head coach Bruce Arena asserted from Dublin on Friday. 

Speaking to local media ahead of Saturday's match against Shamrock Rovers at Tallaght Stadium in Dublin, Arena made left no question that Keane will keep the armband that he has worn for LA for the last two seasons. 

"He's our captain and our penalty kick taker until he tells me otherwise," said Arena when asked if Keane will continue to take penalties for LA.

But could Gerrard end up a vice-captain for the Galaxy when he arrives this summer? That is still up in the air.

 

 

18 February 11:50 am

CARSON, Calif. -- LA Galaxy II forward Ariel Lassiter has been selected to represent the Costa Rica Under-23 squad at the upcoming IMG Suncoast Pro Classic in Bradenton, Fla. from Feb.18-28.

The native of Turrialba, Costa Rica was signed by Galaxy II in January for the upcoming 2015 USL season. A Big West All-freshman team selection during his only year at Cal Poly in 2014, Lassiter last played with Swedish second division club GAIS where he made 12 appearances scoring one goal. 

During the tournament, the Costa Rican Under-23's will face MLS sides Columbus Crew SC, Philadelphia Union, New York Red Bulls and Toronto FC as well as OKC Energy FC (USL), HB Koge (Denmark), and London United, which is a team made up of out of contract players.

The tournament will serve as a tune-up for this summer's CONCACAF Men's Olympic Qualifying tournament which will be held in the United States from October 1-13. The top two teams will qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil while the third place team will face Colombia in a two-leg playoff in Brazil in March 2016. 

All IMG Suncoast Pro Classic games will be streamed live on www.imgsuncoastproclassic.com.
 
16 February 7:29 pm

Las Vegas oddsmakers are big fans of the LA Galaxy's bid for a sixth MLS Cup in 2015. 

ESPN statistician Paul Carr tweeted on Monday that the WestGate Las Vegas Super Book have the defending MLS Cup champion Galaxy at 3/1 odds to repeat champions in this upcoming season. The odds are the best of any of MLS' 20 teams. 

Coming in second are the reigning Supporters' Shield winners, Seattle Sounders FC at 9/2 odds while the 2014 Eastern Conference Champion New England Revolution are third with 8/2 odds. Tied for dead last are the Philadelphia Union, Colorado Rapids, Montreal Impact, and San Jose Earthquakes at 50 to 1.

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13 February 2:17 pm

LA Galaxy midfielder Juninho is interested in one day suiting up for the U.S. National Team, but fans of the Brazilian should hold their horses before running to buy U.S. jerseys with "Juninho" on the back.

Juninho recently told the Brazilian outlet Globoesporte of his intention of suiting up for the U.S. National Team rather than his home land which recently capped his brother Ricardo Goulart. Sources close to the midfielder have told LA Galaxy Insider that this has been a long standing wish of the Brazilian, but even though the 26-year-old has lived in the United States since joining the Galaxy in 2010 and currently holds a green card -- which he obtained in the summer of 2013 -- he must still wait five years until he can apply for citizenship.

When Juninho is finally eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship, the Brazilian midfielder will be nearly 30-years old. If the process is completed quickly, Juninho could be eligible to play for the USMNT during their qualifying efforts for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. 

"I have expressed my desire to play for the US national team," Juninho told Globoesporte.com. "I think the US national team is closer than the Brazilian national team [for Juninho] because of the five years I've been there [in USA] and because of the knowledge I have of the league and the players. I've played a long time with Landon Donovan and he always opened my mind and this possibility is not too distant." 
 
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12 February 7:27 pm

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."

11 February 4:10 pm

CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena will have an opportunity to meet with new Designated Player Steven Gerrard for the first time during the club’s trip through Europe.

The Galaxy head coach and general manager will meet with Gerrard for the first time during the Galaxy trip to Europe and also attend Liverpool’s Europa League knockout round match against Beşiktaş on Feb. 19 at Anfield. Gerrard is unlikely to suit up as he is expected to miss the next three weeks due to a hamstring injury.  

“Yes, I will meet with him,” Arena said. “We’ll just have an opportunity to talk, about our club and expectations, those types of things.”

Arena and the rest of the Galaxy brass famously signed Gerrard without a face-to-face meet as the club needed just phone conversations to secure Gerrard's signature

11 February 1:47 pm

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. 

10 February 7:27 pm

CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy defender A.J. DeLaGarza has yet to play a minute for the club during their 2015 preseason preparations, and it appears that a nagging foot injury will keep him on the shelf at least through the team’s trip to Europe.

A mainstay in 2014, DeLaGarza has been hampered by a bone bruise on his left foot since the beginning of the preseason which has kept him from participating in full training this preseason. Although DeLaGarza is eager to return to action, he admits that it is best to err on the side of caution with the MLS regular season opener looming in less than a month.

“It’s best to let it rest and get ready for the season to start,” DeLaGarza said. “If I go out here now and have a misstep, I could have to start all over again so it’s about being patient and know what [I] can handle right now.

“Thankfully, it wasn’t as bad as we first thought so I’m happy to miss a couple weeks rather than a couple of months. “

The Galaxy defender told reporters on Tuesday that he will be part of the team’s traveling party, but he admits that he is unlikely to suit up in either of the club’s two games in Europe.

“If it gets better and I can take a pass and trap with no pain or kick the ball with no pain then I’d play,” he said. “There’s no time table. You never know with these types of things. It just takes time."

ARENA: EUROPEAN TRAVEL ROSTER NOT YET FINALIZED

The Galaxy depart for an 11-day, two game European trip on Wednesday, but LA head coach Bruce Arena has yet to decide which of his trialists will join the club in Europe.

LA currently have five players not under contract in camp (draft picks Ignacio Maganto and Daniel Keller as well as preseason invitees Andre Auras, Edson Buddle and Ramon Martin Del Campo) who have each logged minutes during the club’s preseason slate. When asked of their status after training on Tuesday, Arena shed light on the travel situation of only one of his four trialists. 

“I haven’t finalized our travel roster,” Arena said. “But Buddle is going.”

RYO FUJII SPEAKS ON NEW LA GALAXY II DEAL

LA Galaxy II bolstered their squad on Tuesday with the signing of LA Galaxy Academy product Ryo Fujii.

The 18-year-old midfielder spent 2014 with U.C. Santa Barbara where he made 19 appearances tallying two assists in his first and only season with the Gauchos. In addition to signing a deal with Galaxy II, the Galaxy will also provide the midfielder with the resources to continue his education at neighboring Cal-State Dominguez Hills.

“It’s a big step for me because as such a young age, I have the opportunity to play at a professional club,” Fujii told LA Galaxy Insider on Tuesday. “It’s my dream to become a professional soccer player, but I want to be more than that. It’s a big step for me in general.”  

Fujii joins forward Jaime Villarreal and goalkeeper Eric Lopez as one of three Academy products who have signed directly with Los Dos