CARSON, Calif. – David Romney was preparing to start his senior season at the University of San Francisco at this time a year ago, and play for new Dons head coach Eddie Soto.
Now fast forward 12 months and Romney is light years removed from those surroundings. The young defender is playing professionally with the LA Galaxy, one of the biggest clubs in the world, and contributing after signing with the club in early August.
But even this week’s international break – the Galaxy don’t return to MLS action until Sept. 12 at StubHub Center against the Montreal Impact – doesn’t offer the Irvine native enough of an opportunity to fully comprehend what has happened to him in a year’s time.
“The only time I’ll ever realize it is if I’m on the scout team before a game and we’re doing set pieces, things like that,” he said after Thursday’s closed scrimmage against Galaxy II. “I’ll look around and I’ll see Stevie (Gerrard), Keano (Robbie Keane), Gio (Dos Santos), Omar (Gonzalez), A.J. (DeLaGarza), Gyasi (Zardes), all these guys I’ve looked up to, and I’ll go, what am I doing here? I’m on the same field. It doesn’t make sense.”
Not everyone on the Galaxy is getting to enjoy the break from competition – Keane, Zardes, Gonzalez and DeLaGarza are with their respective national teams – and some players are using the time off to get healthy.
Midfielder Baggio Husidic, for example, has had a particularly difficult time recovering from a strained right calf injury he suffered during a friendly against FC Barcelona on July 21 at the Rose Bowl. The 28-year-old said the leg is finally 100 percent and he is anxious to get back on the field.
Anything, he said, is better than being a spectator.
“It’s been pretty frustrating,” he said. “Just seeing on the field how much fun the guys are having, being on the sidelines and not being involved is frustrating.”
“But players deal with worse injuries, so I’m no person to complain.”
Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said the break from MLS gives the team some valuable practice time and “a week to have a decent amount of intensity.”
Arena also said that the likes of Husidic and Edson Buddle, who has played in only 10 games this year because of injuries, should benefit from the week of training.
And, in turn, the Galaxy will benefit in the long run, Arena added.
“We have more of a focus on the guys that haven’t been playing, trying to get them back in position to help us as we move down the stretch here,” Arena said.
Galaxy veteran Alan Gordon said, just because the Galaxy aren’t playing this weekend, doesn’t mean the defending MLS Cup champions can back off in their preparations.
But the weekend off, he added, definitely is welcome.
“We’ll take it anyway we can,” he said. “This season has been long and tough. We would have liked to take this one in one of those tough months when we had eight or nine games, but we’ll take this as kind of a refresher and come back firing.”