LAFC and Orange County Blues FC announce partnership

Los Angeles Football Club and the USL’s Orange County Blues FC announced a new partnership that will expand player development and create a loan system between the two franchises.

LAFC is set to join MLS in 2018. lafc

“We are incredibly excited about this partnership, which will contribute significantly towards our goals of building a competitive roster in 2018 and growing the game here in Southern California,” LAFC Executive VP of Soccer Operations John Thorrington. “In the OC Blues, we have a fantastic partner with an owner and staff who closely align with our vision to bring world-class professional soccer to Southern California.”

The deal will provide LAFC the ability to loan players to the Blues as soon as the 2017 season.

“We are thrilled to launch this exciting new era in Orange County soccer with our LAFC affiliation,” Orange County GM and Executive VP of Soccer Operations Oliver Wyss. “This partnership will significantly enhance the quality of our first team and strengthen the bonds between the two clubs. Together we will expand opportunities for coaching education and focus on all aspects of player development.”

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Start of MLS off-season calendar will keep teams extremely busy

It  has already been a busy off-season for the Galaxy and it will only get busier with the official start of the MLS off-season calendar.

Here is a quick primer of what’s ahead for MLS for the next 10 days.

Sunday, Dec. 11
  • Half-Day Trade Window from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. ET
  • No trades involving players will be permitted after 12 p.m. ET up until the conclusion of the Expansion Draft
Monday, Dec. 12
  • Expansion Draft Protected Player List and eligible Free Agents made public
Tuesday, Dec. 13
  • Expansion Draft held at 2 p.m. ET
  • Beginning at 5 p.m. ET, Free Agents may engage in negotiations with all MLS clubs.
Wednesday, Dec. 14
  • List of players eligible for selection in the Waiver Draft made public
Thursday, Dec. 15
  • Waiver Draft held at 2 p.m. ET
  • Beginning at 5 p.m. ET, clubs may no longer sign or trade their own Re-Entry eligible players (player-trade blackout window)
  • List of players available in Stage One of the Re-Entry Draft made public
Friday, Dec. 16
  • Stage One of the Re-Entry Draft held at 3 p.m. ET
Wednesday, Dec. 21
  • Starting at 11 a.m. ET, clubs may no longer sign or trade their own Re-Entry eligible players (player-trade blackout window)
  • List of available players in Stage Two of the Re-Entry Draft made public
Thursday, Dec. 22
  • Stage Two of the Re-Entry Draft held at 3 p.m. ET
January 7-12, 2017
  • 2017 adidas MLS Player Combine
Friday, Jan. 13, 2017
  • 2017 MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas
Monday, Jan. 23, 2017
  • 2017 MLS preseason begins
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Jelle Van Damme and Giovani dos Santos selected to Best XI

Galaxy midfielder Giovani dos Santos and defender Jelle Van Damme were selected to the MLS Best XI, recognizing the league’s top players at each position on the field as determined by media, MLS players and MLS club staff.galaxy

In his first season with the Galaxy, Van Damme, 33, developed into the key to the Galaxy defense, making 28 starts. He was a finalist for both the MLS Defender and Newcomer of the Year awards. He ranked third in the league in blocked shots (27) and in the top 10 in interceptions (95).

Dos Santos,27, was also in his first full season with the Galaxy. He was one of two players this season to record double digits in goals scored (14) and assists (12).

Here is the complete team

2016 MLS Best XI

Goalkeeper: Andre Blake (Philadelphia Union)

Defenders: Matt Hedges (FC Dallas), Axel Sjoberg (Colorado Rapids), Jelle Van Damme (LA Galaxy)

Midfielders: Mauro Diaz (FC Dallas), Giovani dos Santos (LA Galaxy), Sacha Kljestan (New York Red Bulls), Ignacio Piatti (Montreal Impact)

Forwards: Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC), David Villa (New York City FC), Bradley Wright-Phillips (New York Red Bulls)

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Steven Gerrard officially announces retirement

Steven Gerrard’s playing career is officially over.

Gerrard, who announced earlier this month that he would not be returning to the

Galaxy's Steven Gerrard celebrates his first MLS goal against the Earthquakes in a MLS soccer game at the StubHub Center, Friday, July 17, 2015, Carson, CA. The score at halftime was tied 2-2.Los Angeles Galaxy vs. San Jose Earthquakes.Photo by Steve McCrank/Staff Photographer

Galaxy’s Steven Gerrard celebrates his first MLS goal against the Earthquakes in a MLS soccer game at the StubHub Center, Friday, July 17, 2015, Carson, CA. The score at halftime was tied 2-2.Los Angeles Galaxy vs. San Jose Earthquakes.Photo by Steve McCrank/Staff Photographer

Galaxy, called it a career Thursday.

“Following recent media speculation surrounding my future I can confirm my retirement from playing professional football.I have had an incredible career and am thankful for each and every moment of my time at Liverpool, England and LA Galaxy,” Gerrard said. “I feel very fortunate to have had the career I’ve had but none of it would have been possible without the support of so many people.

“As a teenager I fulfilled my childhood dream by pulling on the famous red shirt of Liverpool, and when I made my debut against Blackburn Rovers in November 1998 I could never have imagined what would then follow over the next 18 years.”

Gerrard spent xx years with Liverpool before joining MLS and the Galaxy in July of 2015. He spent 12 years as captain and finished with 186 career goals.

Gerrard also made 114 appearances for the England national team.

“I am excited about the future and feel I still have a lot to offer the game,” Gerrard said. “I am currently taking my time to consider a number of options and will make an announcement with regards to the next stage of my career very soon.”

 

 

 

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Robbie Keane’s letter to Galaxy supporters

It was announced Thursday that Robbie Keane would not be returning to the Galaxy to the 2017 season after six seasons. Here is his letter to Galaxy fans:

LA Galaxy Supporters,

I can confirm that after five fantastic years I will be leaving the LA Galaxy. It’s been a

Los Angeles Galaxy forward Robbie Keane celebrates after he scored a goal against the Seattle Sounders in the first half of an MLS soccer match, Saturday, July 9, 2016 in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Los Angeles Galaxy forward Robbie Keane celebrates after he scored a goal against the Seattle Sounders in the first half of an MLS soccer match, Saturday, July 9, 2016 in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

privilege to have played my part in the history of such a great club and I leave with memories that will stay with me forever. Winning three MLS Cups, scoring over 100 goals for the club and being named as 2014 MVP are all achievements that I will look back on with pride, it’s been an incredible experience, I’ve truly loved every minute of my time at LA Galaxy.

However, I believe that now is the right time for a new challenge as I look towards the next chapter of my playing career. I still feel as fit and sharp as ever and I am looking forward to my next adventure. Having now retired from international football I am ready to focus everything I have on one last major challenge in club football and will be taking time out to consider my options before announcing my next move.

I would like to thank everyone at the Galaxy including the board, manager and all of my teammates for their incredible support during my time in LA. Finally, I would like to thank the most important people at the club: the fans. Thank you for welcoming me as one of your own and for helping to make LA such a special place for both me and my family.

The city has become my second home and I will never forget the unbelievable backing you’ve given me during my time at the Galaxy. The great times we have shared will stay with me forever. I look forward to watching the club continue to grow and progress in the coming years. It’s been an honour to captain your team and I am so proud of everything we have achieved together. Thank you for everything.

Thanks,

Robbie Keane

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Associate head coach Dave Sarachan leaves Galaxy

Galaxy associate head coach Dave Sarachan has left the team to pursue other professional opportunities, the club announced Thursday.

Sarachan, 62, joined the Galaxy in 2008 and helped lead the club to galaxythree MLS Cups (2011, 2012 and 2014).

“I am proud of the role I have played in delivering three MLS Cup Championships to Los Angeles and I’m thankful for the relationships I’ve developed over the course of my time here,” Sarachan said. “Leaving a group of players of such quality and class is not easy but, professionally, I am ready for a new challenge.”

Before joining the Galaxy, Sarachan was an assistant with Arena at the University of Virginia (1984-88), D.C. United (1998-99) and the U.S. men’s national team (2000-02).

 

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Steven Gerrard’s letter to Galaxy supporters

Here is Steven Gerrard’s open letter to Galaxy supporters. It was announced Tuesday that Gerrard will not return to the Galaxy for the 2017 season:

LA Galaxy Supporters –

Over the last year and a half, it has been a privilege to represent the LA Galaxy and play in front of this club’s great fans.

When I left Liverpool, I came to Los Angeles with the goal of helping galaxythe LA Galaxy lift another MLS Cup. I am very disappointed to have not achieved that objective, but I can look back at my time at the club with pride at what we accomplished, including two straight playoff appearances and countless memorable moments on the pitch.

I have loved every minute of my time in the States and playing for the LA Galaxy. I am excited to see this league and this great club continue to grow.

As someone who spent the whole of their career in Liverpool, it has been an incredible experience to come to Los Angeles and play for the LA Galaxy. I would like to thank Mr. Anschutz, Dan Beckerman, Chris Klein and Bruce Arena for this opportunity. I would also like to thank my teammates, the coaching staff, the team staff and each and every supporter for their support since I arrived at this club.

To the Galaxy fans at StubHub Center, it has been an honor to play in front of you. From my debut against San Jose to my final match in Colorado, you have shown me amazing support and I will never forget that. I am excited to continue to support the Galaxy going forward and I look forward to seeing you all again in Los Angeles soon.

Los Angeles will always have a special place in my heart. As I depart, I want to thank everyone at the club for making my time here so memorable for me and my family.

Thank you and go Galaxy.

–Steven Gerrard

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U.S. women’s coach Jill Ellis turns attention toward 2017

The U.S. women concluded 2016 with a 5-0 victory over Romania Sunday night at StubHub Center.

After a break for the holidays, Ellis expects to reconvene with a January camp. With some ussoccerlogoveterans on the way out, the two-game series against Romania afforded Ellis with a chance to see some familiar, younger faces in bigger roles.

“At this point, we have a camp in January scheduled,” Ellis said. “I think this is what’s been great about having a lot of different players in (camp). Now, it is about trying to pick a group for that.

“The other plan is there will be an under-23 camp that will happen prior to our camp and not just looking at under-23 players, but pulling potentially a couple of our best under-17, our best under-20s, our best college players … I want to see as many players as I can and having a camp prior to ours, if somebody does well, then they can stick around for a few days and train with us. That’s kind of how its done and that’s how we piggyback those two teams.

“Beyond that, the She Believes tournament is very important, big tournament and where we get to test ourselves.”

Ellis said the January camps would possibly be in Carson at StubHub Center, “unless the MLS teams are here hogging it.”

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U.S. women national team concludes year against Romania

It is a time of transition for the U.S. women’s national soccer team, with several new faces vying for permanent spots alongside some familiar ones.ussoccerlogo

The U.S. will face Romania tonght at StubHub Center (6:30 p.m.; Fox Sports 1) in the final game of 2016.

One of the positions under the spotlight is at goalkeeper. The U.S. is without longtime start Hope Solo. Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns FC), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride) and Alyssa Naehere (Chicago Red Stars) were all called into this camp.

Harris earned the start in Thursday’s 8-1 victory over Romania at Avaya Stadium in San Jose. It was her third appearance of the year.

“Everything for the keepers is about game experience and decision-making,” U.S. coach Jill Ellis said following Thursday’s victory. “I don’t know how many caps between them Ash (Ashylyn Harris) and Alyssa (Naehere) have but it’s not very many. So the more you put them in these situations, this is what it comes down to.

“They can be brilliant in training and now it’s can they make good decisions in a game. That’s for every player. So everything is a takeaway at this point.”

Ellis initially called in just five players from the 2015 World Cup and Olympic Team (defenders Julie Johnston, Meghan Klingenberg, Ali Krieger, midfielder Megan Rapinoe and forward Alex Morgan).

Klingenberg and newcomer Jaelene Hinkle were both replaced during camp due to injuries. Forward Jessica McDonald and Emily Menges were the replacements. This is their first call-up to the senior national team.

One of the young “veterans” in camp for this series is Christen Press. Press scored a hat trick in Thursday’s game and is the fourth player to score double digits goals this year.

“It is an interesting time for our team,” Press said Thursday. “We’re kind of ending a cycle and being reborn at the same time. It is great for us to go out there and get results but also work on our soccer.

“We’re playing a new formation, we have a lot of new players out there, so we’re trying to push and break the threshold. Even though we’re about to go into a period of break, we’re just trying to get the maximum out of ourselves.”

Alex Morgan scored a pair of goals in Thursday’s game, giving her 17 for the year and 73 in her career.

“This is an early process for us,” midfielder Tobin Heath said. “We’re going through a transition. Kind of getting up to speed and continuing this journey and path the way we want to play, incorporate the new players and continue to grow.”

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