LA Galaxy Insider Year in Review: Kenney Walker
Now that the 2013 season is over, LA Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano will look back on the season for every player who was on the club’s roster at some point during the season.
The Galaxy Insider Year in Review will begin with players who made the least number of appearances for the club in all official competitions over the course of the year, starting with Brian Perk and Bryan Gaul, who did not make any appearances for the first team this year, and concluding with midfielder Marcelo Sarvas who played in a team-best 42 games for LA this year. There will also be an evaluation of head coach and general manager Bruce Arena and his moves at the conclusion of the list.
We will have one or two evaluations per day and focus on what each player did well and what challenges they faced in 2013 as well as a select thought from the player on their performance and an overall assessment of their season from myself.
APPEARANCES IN ALL OFFICIAL COMPETITIONS FOR THE GALAXY: GP: 1 (U.S. Open Cup)
APPEARANCES IN NASL MATCHES FOR THE CAROLINA RAILHAWKS: GP: 11, GS: 10, G: 0, A: 1
RESERVE LEAGUE APPEARANCES: GP: 3, GS: 2
HIGHLIGHTS: There wasn’t much by the way of highlights with the Galaxy in Walker’s 2013 season as he made only one appearance for the club, playing the full 90 minutes in their 2-0 defeat to the Carolina RailHawks in the Third Round of the U.S. Open Cup. With the Galaxy midfield ranks bloated, Walker was sent to train with Swedish side Hammarby and then on loan to the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers and eventually the same RailHawks club that bounced LA from the Open Cup. The 24-year-old midfielder quickly integrated himself with the RailHawks as he started 10 of his 11 appearances with NASL outfit as they finished second in the league’s Fall season. Walker was not only a regular contributor as Carolina’s first choice defensive midfielder, but he also provided a spark offensively as he tallied one assist during his time with the RailHawks, setting up Brenier Ortiz’s game winner in Carolina’s 2-0 win over Fort Lauderdale on September 28.
CHALLENGES: The year began poorly as the midfielder was forced to undergo surgery to repair a fractured fifth metatarsal in his right foot before ever stepping onto the practice field. Walker’s injury and forced him to miss the entire preseason and by the time the 24-year-old midfielder was able to return he found himself pushed down the depth chart. Once the Galaxy were bounced from the U.S. Open Cup in May, Walker’s minutes were limited to Reserve League appearances, causing LA to search for other opportunities for the midfielder. This eventually led to Walker’s loans to NASL sides Ft. Lauderdale Strikers and Carolina RailHawks where he remained for the duration of the 2013 Fall season.
HIS THOUGHTS: “I learned a little bit more about myself as a professional athlete and what I have to do to take care of myself. The level in MLS is going to be higher than the [NASL] level that I was playing at, but it gave me a chance to reflect because when you get pushed off to somewhere else, how much you want to be where you want to be and how much you have to work for it. Just getting back here and fighting for my spot will be something that I can do next year.”
OVERVIEW: Kenney Walker has the tools to become a consistent player in MLS and has displayed that during his brief flashes, but quite simply he’ll need games to further his development. During his time in MLS and the NASL, he has displayed the ability to provide a stable defensive presence while also providing production on the offensive end with his skillful passing ability. As the Galaxy midfield undergoes an expected flux in 2014, Walker may find greater opportunities next season, but if he doesn’t he’ll be an attractive candidate for further loans with an eye toward furthering his development.
POLL: How would you rate Walker’s 2013?
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com