Sports Medicine & Science Department

Sports Science 2

Phil Hayward - Director of Performance and Sport Science

Hayward joined the team as the Director of Performance and Sport Science in February 2020.

Hayward joined the Galaxy after spending over 10 years with Wolverhampton Wanderers FC in England, where he most recently served as the head of their medical department since 2012. With the Galaxy, Hayward will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of the club’s health, physical fitness and physical performance components of the first team.

While with Wolves, Hayward oversaw a department of 30 full-time medical and sports science professionals to provide player care to optimize health and physical conditions. As the head of the medical department, he implemented various sports science systems and processes club-wide to support physical development and care for the Premier League squad.

He first started with Wolves FC in 2008, where he served as the head of Academy Medical Services before moving into a role as the first-team physiotherapist in 2011. Prior to his time with Wolves, he was the head of the medical department for Oldham Rugby League Club and served as a Physiotherapist for NHS and Bolton Wanderers FC.

In 2018, his department were recognized as the Medical Team of the Year by the Football Medical Association in the English Championship. Additionally, he led his team to an all-time record for squad availability of 98.5% during the 2018-19 Premier League Season.

He joins the LA Galaxy with an MSc in Manual Therapy from Coventry University and a BSc in Physiotherapy from Manchester School of Physiotherapy.

Adam Waterson - Head Strength & Conditioning Coach

Waterson joined the club’s performance team as Head of Strength and Conditioning in January 2018.

Waterson has extensive experience in working with various professional soccer teams throughout Australia and Asia in the National Soccer League, A-League and K-League. These teams include Parramatta Power, 2004 Australian Olympic Soccer Team, Sydney FC, Newcastle Jets, Western Sydney Wanderers and FC Seoul.

Waterson graduated from Catholic University in Exercise and Sports Science. Adam is a Level 2 Strength & Conditioning Coach with the Australian Strength & Conditioning Association (ASCA). He also holds an Elite Coach qualification through the ASCA. Adam is currently obtaining his FFA C-Coaching license. 

His main roles are to assist the Director of Sports Performance on the field, assist the training staff with end-stage rehab and lead the LA Galaxy strength program. Adam was born in Baulkham Hills, Sydney, Australia.

William Sparkes - Sports Scientist

Sparkes joins the Galaxy for the 2018 season from the English Premier League, where he worked as a sports scientist for Swansea City AFC for the previous five years. Born and raised in the United Kingdom, he graduated from Swansea University with a degree in sports science in 2013 and has worked in soccer since. 

Sparkes has published a series of research studies monitoring the fatigue and recovery profiles following soccer matches and has a master’s degree in applied physiology. Alongside his work as a practitioner, Sparkes continues his studies for a PhD in the area of training periodization; more specifically by researching the physiological responses to concurrent training methods in soccer players. 

Sparkes’ primary role with the Galaxy is to monitor the physical performance of players during training and matches, with the aim of maximizing performance whilst minimizing injury risk. He also assists the Director of Sports Performance and the Head Strength & Conditioning Coach in the design and delivery of fitness programs.

Brooke Ellison - Sports Performance Dietitian

2018 marked Ellison’s first season with the Galaxy as the head Sports Performance Dietitian. She previously acted as the sports nutrition intern for the club for two seasons and became the interim sports performance dietitian in August 2017. Her role is to oversee the nutrition of all players with an individualized approach to meet positional demands, enhance athletic performance, promote more effective recovery, and assist in illness and injury prevention.

Ellison’s interest in nutrition began as a competitive youth athlete and became a passion during her time as an undergraduate at the University of New Mexico where she was an All-American member of the Division 1 women’s soccer team. Nutrition was extremely impactful for her own performance, recovery and injury prevention, and this experience created a desire to pursue a career helping elite athletes maximize their own performance with nutrition.

Ellison is Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist credentialed and also holds a Master’s degree in Nutritional Sciences from California State University, Long Beach.

Nicolette Leffler - Sports Performance Dietitian & Education Coordinator

Leffler joined the Galaxy Sports Science Department staff in January 2018 as the Sports Performance Dietitian and Education Coordinator. Prior to this, she worked with NCAA Division 1 collegiate athletes in sports nutrition at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

In her role as sports performance dietitian, Leffler focuses on the athletes’ specific nutrition and hydration needs to help them achieve peak performance, recover efficiently from training sessions and matches, and exhibit resilience to illness and injury. As the education coordinator, she implements and manages nutrition education programs and coordinates the educational course logistics for high-level youth athletes in the Galaxy Academy.

Leffler attended UCLA, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in psychobiology before receiving her Master’s of Science in nutritional science. Leffler was a four-year member and captain of the UCLA Dance Team and later danced professionally for the Los Angeles Laker Girls dance team. She is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) credentialed through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Cesar Roldan - Assistant Athletic Trainer, MS, ATC

Roldan, a native of Los Angeles, CA and joins the LA Galaxy after serving as the Head Athletic Trainer for the Colorado Rapids. He has previous experience working as the Head Athletic Trainer for Orange County Blues Soccer Club and previous internships with Chivas USA, Seattle Sounders, and Los Angeles Galaxy. He received his undergraduate Kinesiology Degree from California State University, Long Beach and Master of Science Degree in Rehabilitation Science from Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions.

Roldan’s primary role with the organization is to assist the Head Athletic Trainer in day-to-day preventative and rehabilitative medicine while working in conjunction with the Performance and Nutrition department to ensure the highest quality of care available to athletes.

Shunta Shimizu - Chiropractor, Scar Tissue Specialist, and Active Release Specialist

Shunta Shimizu serves as the club’s Chiropractor and Scar Tissue Specialist as well as Active Release Specialist. He was invited to be an intern with the Galaxy in the beginning of 2005 season after treating Cobi Jones and Peter Vagenas.



Chief Medical Officer, Team Orthopedist — Bert Mandelbaum

Dr. Mandelbaum is a 1980 medical graduate of Washington University Medical School in St. Louis who completed his residency in Orthopedic Surgery at The Johns Hopkins Hospital and fellowship in Sports Medicine at UCLA. He served on the faculty at UCLA from 1986-89 and subsequently joined the Santa Monica Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Group. He presently practices there, serving as the Director of the Sports Medicine Fellowship Program and of the Research and Education Foundation and the Medical Director for the FIFA Medical Center of Excellence in Santa Monica. He is also the Director of Research for Major League Baseball (MLB). He serves on the USOC National Medical Network Advisory Group. He was also appointed as Chief Medical Officer for the World Special Olympic Games 2015 in LA. As a team physician, Dr. Mandelbaum has worked with UCLA Athletics (1985-1989) and Pepperdine University (1990-present), LA Galaxy, and Chivas USA MLS teams. He was the Chief Medical Officer for Women's World Cup Soccer in 1999 and 2003, US Soccer Men's National Teams Physician since 1991, and the assistant Medical Director for Major League Soccer since 1996. He also served as USA Team Physician for Soccer World Cups '94 in the USA, '98 in France, 2002 in Japan and Korea, Germany in 2006, and South Africa in 2010. He served as FIFA medical officer for Brazil World Cup 2014.

Primary Care Physician — Josh Scott, MD

Dr. Joshua Scott is a board-certified specialist in Sports Medicine with over a decade of experience treating athletes in southern California. He was a Division I track and field athlete at Clemson University and received his medical degree and residency in pediatrics from the Medical University of South Carolina. After residency, he completed a fellowship in primary care sports medicine at the University of South Carolina. He currently practices at the Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute as a primary care sports medicine physician and is volunteer faculty at the University of Southern California. Dr. Scott has worked with the U.S. Track and Field team at the Olympic Trials and U.S Championships in 2016. He has served as a medical consultant for the Los Angeles Dodgers and he currently serves as the lead primary care physician for the Galaxy.

Team Neuropsychologist — Dave Lechuga, PhD

Dr. Iman Abdeshahian, DMD - Team Dentist

Dr. Iman was born in Switzerland and raised in England, educated both in the UK and America before moving to Southern California. He lectures to both dentists and university students, and was previously a clinical evaluator with Glidewell Laboratories. He believes in giving his time and effort to helping those in the community who might not otherwise have access to adequate dental care, and every year his office provides a day of free dentistry to an underserved group in the community.

He has also been involved in dental mission trips abroad, helping bring much-needed medical care to Guatemala, Fiji, Tonga, and Mexico. Highly regarded for his cosmetic work, he is trusted by many celebrity patients to help maintain their oral health, and Dr. Iman’s work can be seen on the front covers of magazines and publications worldwide. His research has also helped support the development of laser-activated skin fillers, laser tattoo removal and clarification of the roles that microRNAs play in post transcription regulation of gene expression.

He currently maintains a private multi-specialty practice in Stanton, California.

Team Chiropractors

George Billauer, DC

Dr. George Billauer has been a member of the Galaxy medical staff since the team's inception in 1996. A 1977 graduate of the Los Angeles College of Chiropractic, he has extensive experience in the sports medicine arena. His career has included providing services to organizations such as the LA Dodgers, the LA Kings, the US Olympic Team and UCLA Men's Basketball. His passion is soccer and he is proud to also have been the Team Chiropractor for the US Men's National Team since 1992. His experience with the USMNT spans over 300 matches and 5 World Cups.

Eric Pierra, DC

Dr. Pierra joined the LA Galaxy Medical Staff in 1997. Dr. Pierra is a spinal and extremity manipulation specialist who has worked regularly with the team throughout the years and has been on hand for all the Galaxy's Championship games. Dr. Pierra began his professional career in 1995 after graduating from the Los Angeles College of Chiropractic and obtaining a license to practice in the state of California. Dr. Pierra has worked periodically with the Men's and Women's National Soccer Team as well. He currently practices in Irvine, CA.

Rion Zimmerman, DC

In 2013 Dr Zimmerman was asked to serve as one of the team chiropractors for the Galaxy and in 2014 the US women’s national soccer team. Dr. Zimmerman has obtained the postgraduate designation of Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician * (CCSP ® ) by the American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians™ (ACBSP™). The CCSP ® certification provides Dr. Zimmerman with knowledge specific to physical fitness and the evaluation and treatment of injuries encountered in sports including concussion protocols.This training aids the doctor in the prevention and treatment of athletic injuries by enhancing his diagnostic skills and patient care. He currently owns and operates two clinics in La Cañada Flintridge and Glendale, CA.

Team Ophthalmologist – Rom Kandavel, MD

Dr. Rom Kandavel performs cutting edge cataract and laser eye surgery at the Colvard-Kandavel Eye Center. He recognized as one of the leading eye specialists in Los Angeles and lectures internationally to advance the field of ophthalmic surgery. Dr. Kandavel grew up in the San Fernando Valley. He graduated from the renowned Harvard-Westlake high school. He then attended UCLA, where he received his degree in Biology and graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude. Dr. Kandavel received his medical degree from UC Davis Medical School where he graduated at the top of his class with AOA honors on a full academic scholarship. In 2013, Dr. Kandavel was chosen as the Team Ophthalmologist for the L.A. Galaxy soccer team, and he also provided eye care for the U.S. Men's National Team competing in the 2014 World Cup games in Brazil.

Team Podiatrist — Howard Liebeskind

Dr Liebeskind is team podiatrist to the U.S. Men's and Women's National Soccer teams and has served the United States Soccer Federation for the past 25 years. In this capacity he has participated in a combined 12 FIFA World Cups. Liebeskind has served as team podiatrist to the Los Angeles Galaxy since the team's inception in 1996. In addition, he is also team and consulting podiatrist to the UCLA and Pepperdine University Athletic Departments. Dr Liebeskind maintains an active practice in the Los Angeles community of West Hill