CARSON, Calif. – The chance at a starting goalkeeper spot lured Carlo Cudicini from Tottenham Hotspur to the LA Galaxy and now that the Italian has arrived in Southern California, he’s eager to make an impression with his new club.
The 39-year-old goalkeeper completed his move from Tottenham Hotspur on a free transfer on Dec. 31, ending a 15-year-long stint in the English Premier League where he made stops at Spurs and Chelsea. With the departure of former incumbent ‘keeper Josh Saunders, Cudicini is expected to slide in as the Galaxy starting goalkeeper when LA begin their MLS slate on March 3 against the Chicago Fire.
Although it took some time, a move to MLS was years in the making as the league had long interested the goalkeeper, who found himself down on the depth chart at Tottenham and Chelsea over the past several years.
Photos: Cudicini in action with Chelsea & Tottenham
“I always thought it would be a good experience to come here after I came here with my first season with Chelsea,” said Cudicini. “I loved the atmosphere, I love the sports culture in the U.S. and I always thought that if I had a chance to come here then I would take it. That’s what happened, [the offer came] in a moment where I wasn’t that happy at Tottenham, so I think the two things are perfectly matching.”
Cudicini arrives at The Home Depot Center with an impressive resume having spent 15 years in England after beginning his career in his native Italy. During his time in the England, Cudicini spent nearly a decade with Chelsea made 216 appearances in all competitions, but moved to Tottenham in January 2009. At White Hart Lane, Cudicini made 37 total appearances for Spurs including one match in 2012 during a League Cup victory over Carlisle United.
While at Tottenham, Cudicini became close friends with former U.S. International Brad Friedel and current Galaxy forward Robbie Keane, who the Italian says were both instrumental in his transfer to the Galaxy. Friedel in particular may have played the biggest role as Cudicini admits that he had plenty of discussions with the U.S. International about the goings on across MLS over the past year.
“Brad helped me a lot in the last few weeks when I was talking with the [Galaxy],” said Cudicini. “[MLS] is growing and new players are coming and the level is a decent level. It’s a bit different and you have a few stadiums with turf and you don’t have that in Europe so it will be challenging and I’m looking forward to it.”
Since arriving in Southern California last week, Cudicini has wasted no time getting to know his teammates as he settles into a role with a new club. But In the words of Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena, Cudicini has already made an impression on some of his new teammates, including defender Todd Dunivant.
“He seems like a great guy and he’s obviously got loads of experience and he brings a lot of that to the team which will be great,” Dunivant told reporters. “It’ll take time for us to get use to his style and him to us, but his resume speaks for itself and we’re looking forward to getting things going on the field.”
That adaptation of styles will need to come fast as the Galaxy will bid for an unprecedented third straight MLS Cup title in 2013. But Cudicini is excited about for his new American adventure.
“My first impression is very good, I met all the people that work for the club and I have a great feeling, there are great facilities and everything is excellent. My first impression is excellent,” said Cudicini. “I want to try and help this team do better than they’ve done over the last two years. I want to try to get the most out of this experience.”
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com