Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena and players discuss changes at AEG

CARSON, Calif. –The SuperClásico may be just days away, but the news regarding the changes at AEG and particularly, the departure of AEG President and CEO Tim Leiweke by mutual agreement was big news at the LA Galaxy practice field on Friday.

Reporters spoke to Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena, LA captain Robbie Keane, attacker Mike Magee as well as defenders Omar Gonzalez and Tommy Meyer on Thursday’s news regarding AEG. 

(On the news regarding the departure of Tim Leiweke…)

ARENA: “I love Tim Leiweke. I think that he’s one of the best things to happen to me in my career so I’m going to miss Tim. I can speak for everyone in our organization and we care a lot about Tim. He’s been a phenomenal person to work with, a great leader, and a real inspiration.”

KEANE: “I think everybody is surprised. He’s been great for this club and this league with everything that he’s done for AEG. For me personally, he’s the one that brought me to this club and I've got a lot to thank him for. Everybody was shocked as you can imagine, probably the same as you guys. We’re going to certainly miss him, he’s a great character, a great guy, and we’re certainly going to miss him coming into the locker room after games and before games. His enthusiasm for the Galaxy and the Kings was exceptional. For me, to have an owner and someone who runs the organization, he was probably one of the best that I’ve come across to be honest with you with the way that he was passionate about [the team], the way that he looks after his players, and the way that he deals with people. For me to come over from the U.K.  to bring my whole family over here, he made it so easy for me and my family and I’m forever grateful for that. He will always be a good friend to me.”

MAGEE: “I’m very surprised. He’s obviously a guy who is so massive to what this league has become and a guy who went to bat for us when no one else really would. It’s definitely sad, we don’t know all the details and we read the same stuff that you guys do, just remember the times when the league was kind of going south and he was the guy that stood up for the league and obviously put a boat ton of money in our team and this league when no one else would. It’s sad and hopefully he finds his way back some way.”

GONZALEZ: “Devastating, the night before, he was in the locker room congratulating us on going through and he seemed really excited about it and the next day, he’s gone. It happened that quickly, I think that everyone was just shocked and it is sad to see him go, but I’m sure that he’ll be fine wherever he lands. He was great to me; he was great to the Galaxy and the overall league. He will definitely be missed.”

MEYER: “I was surprised. He obviously meant a lot to the guys. He was close to us and had a lot passion for our team and everything L.A. He was a great and especially just being here a year, he took care of us.”

 (On how his departure will impact the club…)

ARENA:  “Well, we won’t have Tim, who was certainly a focal point of the Galaxy. We’re going to miss that, but we’re going to have the continued support of AEG. Nothing changes as far as we’re concerned. We’re never going to replace Tim Leiweke with Tim Leiweke, but having said that, I think I said this year, we’re not going to replace David Beckham. We’re going to have to move on, it’s unfortunate, but that’s what we’re charged to do…He’s the best. He’s the best person that I’ve ever worked for and I think the world of Tim. I can’t tell you how much of a loss it is for me personally, but that’s the business that we work in.”

MAGEE: “Hopefully it doesn’t. But like I said, he was doing so many amazing things. He set the bar pretty high. I couldn’t imagine AEG changing anything that it’s been doing with us, but it makes you think twice if it’ll be the same or not.”

GONZALEZ: “From what I understand, nothing is changing. We’re still going to be determined to be the gold standard moving forward and continue bringing in big names and to keep on winning championships. He started that movement with bringing in names, but now it’s up to us to keep it going and keep that standard high. We just have to do that day in and day out.”

(On whether his departure will change AEG’s role in running the Galaxy...)

ARENA: “We don’t believe so. We’ll have the same resources; it won’t be the same way as how we approached things. It can’t be. No one is going to replicate Tim in terms of the way that he does business. But it doesn’t mean that we can’t do as well, if not better.  That’s our charge and we’re going to have to try to move forward and do the best we can.”

(On new AEG President and CEO Dan Beckerman…)

ARENA: “Dan has been a great guy and we’ve worked with him throughout. He’s extremely bright, very supportive, a different kind of personality than Tim for sure, but obviously a competent business man and a person that works with the utmost integrity so we’re very pleased to be continue to be able to work with Dan.”

GONZALEZ: “He’s been around for a long time. He’s just always there. He’s a really nice guy, a bit more reserved I think, but I think he will do a great job…I see him all the time and I’m sure that he knows what is going on.”