TUCSON, Ariz. – E.Z. is coming home.
The LA Galaxy announced on Tuesday that former star central defender Ezra Hendrickson joined head coach Sigi Schmid’s coaching staff for the 2018 campaign. One of the most talented defenders in club history, Hendrickson spent seven seasons with Los Angeles from 1997 to 2003, making 191 appearances across all competitions.
Hendrickson’s time with the club was one of the most successful periods in the Galaxy’s history as he helped the team win two Supporters’ Shields, a U.S. Open Cup title, the MLS Cup, and the CONCACAF Champions Cup.
“It’s a homecoming. I played 12 seasons in the league, and seven of them were with the Galaxy. I’m happy to be back,” the 2001 LA Galaxy Most Valuable Player told LA Galaxy Insider. “I’m working with Sigi again. I’ve known him for 20 years now; he’s a very good coach. I hope to continue to learn from him, and I’m here to help the team in any way I can.”
As overjoyed Hendrickson is to work with his old boss once again, Schmid notes that the feeling is mutual.
“I like Ezra as a coach because he can see things from a different perspective and I like to have assistant coaches who are going to bring different opinions because that makes you stronger as a staff," Schmid said. "He’s excellent working with the defenders and great at getting outside backs to improve going forward."
"He loves the game, he was a guy that could get players to perform and some of the teams that I coached, I had him mentor some of the younger games. I could see in that mentoring process that he could relate and bring guys along as a coach.”
Hendrickson’s hiring reunites with him with Schmid who coached the defender for 164 of his 266 career MLS matches during his 12-year career.
Following his retirement in 2008, Hendrickson joined Schmid’s coaching staff at Seattle Sounders FC, serving as an assistant before taking over as head coach of the club’s USL affiliate in 2014.
"Seattle is a tremendous organization, and they gave me the opportunity to excel and improve my craft while I was there. I’m very grateful to them for that,” Hendrickson says of his former club. “But coaching as with anything in life is a continuous process. You always want to learn and try to find ways to get better. As I’ve matured the last nine years as a coach, there’s always been aspects of my coaching that I’ve tried to improve. It’s a process, but I’m very happy how my career progressed.”
With an eye to the future, Hendrickson believes that priority number one for him and the rest of Schmid’s staff is to help return the Galaxy to their winning ways.
“I hope that as part of the coaching staff that I can help the team get back to the kind of success that they’re used to,” Hendrickson said. “I’m very confident that we can. Sigi and the front office have done a great job with the roster this offseason, and we could be very successful in this league.
“I’m just happy to be a part of it, and I just want to do whatever I can as an assistant to make sure that we bring success back to the organization.”