CARSON, Calif. – A fractured left clavicle forced LA Galaxy forward Jack McBean to the sidelines just as he was enjoying his finest performance of the year April 27. But now fully recovered from his injury, the 18-year-old Homegrown is focused on reaching those heights again.
McBean has crossed nearly every hurdle on his race to recovery to date after returning to full training on June 12 and then going 15 minutes in LA’s Reserve League draw with the Los Angeles Blues three days later. Although he has yet to return to first team action since suffering the injury against Real Salt Lake, he has made the game day roster for the Galaxy’s last two league fixtures.
“I’m feeling good. It’s about three weeks back and I feel close to getting back to normal. I can tell that there are things that are still a little bit off. My feet are slow still, but it’s getting close,” said McBean on Tuesday, who admitted that he’s gotten over any lingering apprehension after the injury. “I feel confident that if [head coach Bruce Arena] was to put me in on Sunday [against Chivas USA] then I would have been fine.”
The injury came at a truly unfortunate time for McBean, who made seven appearances and five consecutive starts while scoring a goal before the injury against RSL. During his recovery, McBean believes that he’s become more patient and focused after his season was stalled due to injury.
But McBean didn’t just gain mental fortitude, he also gained a metal plate and 11 screws on his collarbone that could remain in his body permanently if he so chooses. As the teenager continues his progression, associate head coach Dave Sarachan agreed that McBean is close to returning to full fitness, but improvement is still needed.
“He had a little hiatus with his injury; we were pleased with him up till that point,” said Sarachan. “Now he’s ramping back up, he’s getting closer to being a real serious contender to being on the field for us.”
To get on the field—and earn a starting position alongside captain Robbie Keane—McBean must take the position away from fellow Homegrown forward Gyasi Zardes, who scored his second goal of the year in LA’s SuperClasico win over Chivas USA on Sunday night. The two Homegrown forwards couldn’t be more different, with McBean’s physicality making him the perfect foil to Zardes’ speed.
“Gyasi played really well and he’s a dangerous player, but we’re all good players and we’re all professional athletes. We all want each other to do well, but we all want to be on the field,” said McBean. “You wouldn’t want to be without competition because it wouldn’t be as gratifying when you get to play and score.”
And how does he intend to regain his role as a regular fixture in the Galaxy starting XI?
“Hold the ball up and score goals. That’s a simple answer,” said McBean. “That’s what I’m supposed to do and I just need to keep doing it.”
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com