CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy goalkeeper Bill Gaudette couldn’t have picked a better time for his first full training session with the club in almost a month on Thursday.
Fellow goalkeeper Brian Perk will be lost to the team for an estimated six weeks following sports hernia surgery, and Gaudette now will serve as Josh Saunders’ backup.
“It was nice to be back with the boys, getting back on the field and competing,” he said. “It’s been a while.”
Gaudette, who turns 31 in September, is a former first-round pick (ninth overall in the 2005 MLS Supplemental Draft) by the Columbus Crew and had been signed during the offseason as a free agent from his former club, Montreal of the North American Soccer League.
The Galaxy were well aware of Gaudette’s talents, having faced him – and lost to him – during the 2010-2011 CONCACAF Champions League.
“He’s an experienced goalkeeper,” Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said.
“There’s no reason to believe he’s not going to be a player who’s capable of playing for us.”
Gaudette, according to Galaxy goalkeeping coach Ian Feuer, had been doing well in preseason until he injured his right quadricep in a match against Chivas USA. The discomfort lingered and the team’s training staff “played it smart,” Gaudette said, by holding him out of training for a while.
“Hopefully I’m back fully healthy,” he said. “I’m excited.”
Thursday’s emotions marked quite a change from what he had been experiencing lately.
“Oh man, it was frustrating,” he admitted. “Especially in the beginning of the season, being on a new team, new everything. Sitting there watching was difficult.”
Gaudette, however, did manage to get in some work with Feuer on the side, and that helped him get through some trying times.
“Having that opportunity to stay fit and focused and doing some work with Ian off the field has really helped keep me in the game, not just sitting there watching and calling it a day,” he said. “I give a lot of credit to Ian just to help me deal with aspects of the game you deal with when you’re injured.
“It’s behind me now. Hopefully it’s the last of the year.”
Feuer said he expects good things from the veteran, mostly because he’s seen what he’s capable of.
“One of the things that attracted us to him was when we played against Puerto Rico,” he said. “He played really well and showed he was capable of shutting us down and controlling the box and all that.
“When we had a look at him in preseason he did really well. Unfortunately he got injured right when he was kind of feeling really fit and peaking. So we’re not on ground level but we have to rebuild a little bit.
“But whoever comes into the Galaxy there’s always stuff to work on, whether it’s (Donovan) Ricketts, (Josh) Saunders or (Brian) Perk. I have no problem with any of our three guys playing. They could do the job at any time.”