Answering the Call

Galaxy trio faced Brazil, Ricketts battles T&T, Arena in Hall of Fame

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CARSON, Calif. – Bruce Arena missed his
second straight day of training on Wednesday, but any notions of a coaching
change at The Home Depot Center are severely misplaced.

Arena flew to New York following the game against Real Madrid and was
inducted to the National Soccer Hall of Fame on Tuesday afternoon ahead of the
friendly between the U.S.
and Brazil.
He was inducted to the Hall alongside Toronto FC head coach Preki, former
National Team captain Thomas Dooley and NASL legend Kyle Rote Jr.

Named to the Hall of Fame on
the Builder’s Ballot in January, Arena is the all-time leader in wins as coach
of the National Team, a position that he held from 1998-2006, helping the U.S. reach the
World Cup twice. The 58-year-old New York
native also won a pair of MLS Cup titles with D.C. United in 1996 and 1997 and
was a five time NCAA champion as coach at the University of Virginia.

“I’m very appreciative of
the recognition. It’s a diverse class for sure,” Arena said of his induction. “Kyle
Rote and I are about the same age and we grew up actually with similar
backgrounds. We started in the game so late and then you have Preki and Dooley
who obviously learned their trade in other countries and have come here to help
build the game. So it’s really a diverse and unique class and a class I’m proud
to be a part of.”

Watch Arena’s induction speech.

With Arena on the East
Coast, Dave Sarachan and Cobi Jones have taken charge of the club’s training
sessions the last two days.

STAYING BUSY

While Arena was being
honored before the U.S.-Brazil game at the New Meadowlands Stadium, three of
his current Galaxy players were in Bob Bradley’s starting lineup for that game.
New York
native Edson Buddle, as well as Landon Donovan and Omar
Gonzalez were in action for the Red, White and Blue in their
2-0 loss to the five-time World Cup champions.

Buddle played 45 minutes in
that game before coming off at halftime, while Donovan played 61 minutes to
earn his 128th cap, tying him with Marcelo Balboa for the third most
appearances in U.S.
history.

Making his first-ever
appearance with the National Team, Gonzalez played the full 90 minutes in
central defense, earning plaudits from head coach Bob Bradley.

“It’s
not an easy first game, let’s face it,” Bradley said after the game. “I talked
yesterday about picking the right time for players and making sure, you time
things well and put them in a situation where you feel like it’s the right
first opportunity. I think if you have watched Omar throughout the year, he is
still young. Physically, there are some great starting points. He’s made progress
with the Galaxy and Bruce has done a great job. He has some plays now where
there are things going on around him and it’s not that easy for him to keep
track of all these things. Hopefully he’s a player that with more of these
kinds of experiences can continue to grow.”

And Omar himself was
impressed with the experience.

“Making the All-Star team
and now this…I was actually a late call-up and had no clue that I would be
playing here this soon. I’m just really ecstatic to be here. I’m loving this. I
think there are still a lot more young guys out there that have yet to be seen.
I think it’s good that Bob Bradley has brought me and Alejandro Bedoya along
and it gives us experience. Hopefully, some more young bright talent can come
out.”

On Wednesday night,
goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts is expected to be in action for the Jamaican
National Team in their friendly against Trinidad & Tobago in Port of Spain. Following
the game, Ricketts will fly to New
York, where he will join up with the rest of the
National Team ahead of Saturday’s game against the Red Bulls.

HOME AGAIN

Galaxy goalkeeper Brian Perk
still can’t stop smiling after the club claimed him on waivers from the
Philadelphia Union last week.

The native of Rancho Santa
Margarita and four-year standout at UCLA is reunited with former Bruins
midfielder and Galaxy rookie Michael Stephens and was a member of the club’s
U-20 team in 2008, when he helped that squad win the Pacific Southern
California Division title in their inaugural season.

The 21-year-old Perk was a
Fourth Round MLS SuperDraft pick by the expansion Union in January but did not
appear in any regular season games for the club, although he did play in recent
friendlies against Celtic and Manchester United.

Galaxy assistant coach
Trevor James, the team’s director of player development who oversees the team’s
youth academy that includes U-16, U-18 and U-20 teams, has
been impressed with Perk for some time.

“He’s extremely athletic,
enthusiastic, wants to train and wants to play,” James said. “Certainly he has
a very good base of talent, and I’m sure working with us is going to make a big
difference for him.”

Said goalkeeper coach Ian
Feuer, “He’s a young guy and has tons to learn, but he has a lot of ability
that’s pretty raw. We’re just going to try and nurture it.

“He’s a good acquisition and
we’re excited to have him here.”

But arguably not as excited
as Perk, who is thrilled to be in Southern California
again.

“It’s great to be back
home,” he said. “I’ve seen my parents, my friends. Everyone’s happy … I’m
happy. It’s just a better situation for me.”

YOUTH IS SERVED

Tuesday marked a special day
for more than 250 youths and their parents from AYSO Region 10 in Palos Verdes
who watched the Galaxy’s training session.

Regional commissioner David
Behenna and Mike McLoughlin, the Galaxy liaison for the region, said the day
will be one the youngsters, will not forget. It also featured a
behind-the-scenes look at The Home Depot Center and even a short tour of the
locker rooms.

McLoughlin said he was
expecting a turnout of between 100-150 and got almost twice that.

Behenna said Tuesday was
ideal for those boys and girls who might be thinking of playing soccer for a
living.

“This is definitely a
kick-start for them,” he said. “This is a unique experience not everyone gets
to have.”

Added McLoughlin, “I’m
betting it will leave a memory they’ll have for a very, very long time.”