CARSON, Calif. – The NCAA College Basketball tournament is one of the most eventful times in all of American Sports and the LA Galaxy locker room is not immune to the excitement.
On Saturday, Louisville, Wichita State, Michigan, and Syracuse will face off in the Final Four or the honor to play in Monday’s National Championship game.
LA have two players on their roster from Louisville as second year midfielder Kenney Walker and rookie Greg Cochrane were each standouts for the Cardinals while rookie defender Kofi Opare was a frequent starter for the Michigan Wolverines for four years.
“Both of our [basketball] teams are in the final four, the men’s and the women’s team so that’s pretty cool,” said Cochrane. “Obviously, Kenney and I are pulling for Louisville and I try to get on Kofi because it could be a Louisville vs. Michigan final, I know we’re going to win.”
“It’s exciting,” said Walker. “I feel like this year, the team is buying into what [head coach Rick] Pitino is doing. He has them working as a team and a unit and they’re all buying in to it.”
The defender from Michigan finds himself a tad more alone as only Galaxy Assistant Athletic Trainer Kurt Andrews; a native of Rochester, Mich. is supporting the Wolverines. However, Opare, who counts Wolverines standouts Tim Hardaway Jr. and Eso Akunne among his friends and contacted them during their tournament-run through Facebook.
“It’s really amazing. I’m just so proud of Michigan basketball representing the university in a positive light. We have players stepping up not only [point guard] Trey Burke, who I believe is the best player in the country, but we have other players stepping up and those coming off the bench as well are bringing great energy and everyone is feeding off it.”
March Madness isn’t limited to the players with rooting interests as the team runs a bracket pool that all of the players participate in.
“There’s a whole pool and it gets pretty intense and a lot of people participate. Obviously, a lot of people were telling me not to pick Louisville because I was only going to throw away my money,” said Cochrane, who counts midfielders Michael Stephens and Colin Clark as a pair who told him he was throwing his money away. “I had to stay true to my roots and I knew that this was going to be our year with the Cards as national champs. Unfortunately, I can’t win the bracket, I’m going to come up short, but as long as the Cards win, then I’ll win.”
Opare is actually near the top of the bracket and is fighting with defender A.J. DeLaGarza for the top spot in the Galaxy’s bracket pool.
“My bracket is looking great. A.J. is in first place, but he has Syracuse winning the whole thing and I have Michigan so [Saturday] could turn out a great day for me and Michigan,” said Opare. “This is the first time that I’ve a bracket so being this close to winning definitely keeps me going.”
Who are you going to support: Cochrane and Walker or Opare?
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