CARSON, Calif. – It’s a new year for a trio of LA Galaxy players, but 2011 is already starting to look a whole lot like 2010.
Omar Gonzalez, Sean Franklin and A.J. DeLaGarza will spend the next three weeks together as part of the United States national team camp at The Home Depot Center, a unique and welcome opportunity for three teammates looking to make the most of their opportunity.
“It’s nice. Having a couple of guys that you know in camp makes you feel more comfortable, less nervous when you know someone you can talk to about the game,” Franklin said. “It’s going to be a fun camp, not just with AJ and Omar, but with all the guys here.”
Franklin and Gonzalez have each been part of three US national team camps before, but this is the first call DeLaGarza has received from head coach Bob Bradley.
While Franklin is the longest-tenured Galaxy member (he won the Rookie of the Year award in 2008), Gonzalez is the one who has already been capped. He played against Brazil in August at New Meadowlands Stadium in New Jersey.
“It’s great. It gives me a sense of home. I’ve been with them two years now, every day,” he said. “It’s great having them here, just to relax at the hotel together, hang out and come out here and play comfortably with them.”
DeLaGarza, meanwhile, is the unheralded member of the group, and the only one not to win Rookie of Year (Gonzalez won in 2009). But he earned a starting center back role for the Galaxy’s stretch run last season, and his unique run with teammate Gonzalez has now taken them from the college ranks to the US national team.
“It’s crazy. Obviously playing with Maryland, the Galaxy and now here, it’s crazy,” DeLaGarza said. “I don’t even know how to explain it. It’s good to have him here because we know each other really well, and having Sean here also makes it easier.”
Another possible benefit of training camp, which will culminate with a friendly against Chile on Jan. 22, is that by the time Galaxy preseason camp opens at the end of the month, the three players could enter close to or at their full fitness level.
“We’ll be a little bit ahead of the game but that’s how it is,” Franklin said. “When we get back our team’s going to be happy to see us and I’m also looking forward to starting the season with the Galaxy.”