A Few Words With Former Galaxy Defender and New Chivas USA Signing Ante Jazic

Few players are more qualified than former Galaxy and likely future Chivas USA left back Ante Jazic (Jonny Bornstein has been playing left half during preseason) to provide a perspective on both clubs. Jazic played more than 40 games with the Galaxy over the last three years before being traded to their intra-stadium rivals in the off-season. I spoke to Jazic earlier this week (and used some of his comments in Tuesday’s column) before he headed off to a yoga session. Ante didn’t dish on the Galaxy as much as I’d hoped, but you can read between the lines a little. BTW, Jazic and Chivas USA play a charity game against the PDL Ventura County Fusion at 5 p.m. Sunday in Santa Clarita at the College of the Canyons. Tickets are $20 apiece or $40 for a family of four.

Question: What was your reaction when you got traded to Chivas USA?
Answer: If you’re going to get traded then this is probably the easiest way to do it – just grab your boots and go 50 feet down the hall, so relocation-wise it was easy on me. I’m happy to be here (it’s) a great locker room here at Chivas. It was a little strange at first, but I’m getting used to everything around me now.

Q: How do the Galaxy guys and Chivas USA guys get along?
A: I knew a lot of the guys, you see them every day in the gym, so it’s not like this “hate thing” as people might like to say. We see each other daily, we share the stadium. There’s a little pride who rules this stadium. The Galaxy guys think they own the stadium, the Chivas guys think we own the stadium, so we’ll see, it will be interesting. I’m looking forward to the SuperClasico that’s for sure.

Q: How do the two locker rooms compare?
A: Here at Chivas we don’t have a marquee player, we don’t have any designated players – not that I know of anyway. Everyone’s pretty much on an even keel, guys are good friends off the field. In the Galaxy locker room (there’s) a great bunch of guys – I had a lot of friends there – it’s just a different dynamic. It’s just different because of people on different (wage) scales; (there’s) just a different aura around the club, whereas (with) everyone here it’s almost like a lunch pail mentality.

Q: Were you glad to get the hell out of the Galaxy considering what’s been going on there the last couple of years?
A: You know what, I enjoyed my time at the Galaxy, it was a great experience. A change of scenery definitely at this point in my career was good for me. The locker room (at Chivas USA) is great. Everyone jokes around with each other. Everyone is on an even keel – there’s no one ahead of anybody here on the team, so the young guys have their voice in the locker room and it’s fun. Everyone has a go at each other. It’s just a different dynamic. It’s tough at the Galaxy when you have David who’s a great guy, but it’s hard sometimes – you can’t really make fun of David, y’know. Well you can, but most guys are afraid to. Here everyone can make fun of everyone. … Hopefully, the Galaxy get things together, but now I’m with Chivas and we rule the stadium now.

Q: What was your relationship with David Beckham?
A: With David I had a great relationship. More on the road we’d hang out. He was fine, but it’s not easy being David as well, y’know? Coming here, it was different surroundings for him. He’s not used to MLS and the salaries and all that. David does his best – it takes time.

Q: Is it better for the Galaxy that David stay in Italy?
A: David is a good player. You have a better chance of winning games if David is on the field. I’m not in the locker room anymore, I don’t hear what guys are saying and I don’t really ask. But I would think if I was with the Galaxy (still) we’d have a better chance of winning with David Beckham than without David Beckham. If (someone says) it’s going to be a better team without David in the side, I don’t really know what that person is talking about.

Q: Some fans are trying to figure out what was going on with you leaving the Galaxy and left back Todd Dunivant returning to the team. What was your take on the trades?
A: (Laughs) Similar salaries. Similar surgeries – Todd had a micro-fracture (like me). I needed a change of scenery. I’m glad I was traded to Chivas. I thank Bruce for that because who knows where I could have been traded to. I like Los Angeles and wanted to stay in LA. I’m happy to be with Chivas, (where there’s) a good bunch of guys and we’ve bonded well through training in camp and we’re working hard and looking forward to the new season.

Q: One of the criticisms of Chivas USA is they haven’t seemed to have added an impact player or two that might give them a better chance of getting through the first round of the playoffs. How do you see the situation here?
A: You can tell you’re coming into a stable locker room. They’ve had a couple of good seasons – (and been) a little unlucky not to get past the first round. They’re still looking to add players in this training camp period. I’ve been impressed, guys work hard, training sessions are extremely difficult. Everyone works hard, we’re grunting our way through it. Hopefully the work will pay off and we can get past the first round of the playoffs because that’s obviously our goal. There’s a lot of good players, a lot of good characters in the locker room and it has just been a joy. I’m enjoying my soccer, that’s for sure.

Q: How close is your spot in the locker room to the other Ante (Razov)? And is that confusing?
A: (laughs) He’s a few seats down. It’s a little weird. I feel like I’m in Croatia again. Ante is a common name in Croatia, but definitely not in America, so when I hear someone say “Ante” I’m always turning around. So it’s definitely weird. I never thought I’d experience that. He’s Croatian himself so sometimes we can chat in Croatian. We have a whole melting pot of guys in the locker room, it’s a good group of guys. He’s been injured, but when he gets on the field we’ll have to sort something out. Maybe I’m Ante Junior, he’s a little bit older.

Q: Compare the two teams’ training sessions?
A: I’m hoping this training camp ends soon because it has been different with Preki, that’s for sure. We run a lot – that’s what I’ve noticed here. Every training session is difficult. Preki has a philosophy that you train once a day, but that one a day covers about two training sessions, I think. Fitness won’t be an issue; hopefully we can keep healthy this year and start to win some games, if we have a healthy squad. I think our team is pretty deep this year – a good blend of young guys and experienced players. I want March 21st to roll around as soon as possible.

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Galaxy Set U.S. Open Cup Qualifying Date

The Galaxy host the Colorado Rapids at 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 7 in an U.S. Open Cup qualifying game in Carson.

The winner enters the knockout tournament proper.

Or as one wag put it in the newsroom “I see the Galaxy will be out of the cup by April.” (Ahem).

The Galaxy, two-time cup winners, lost 1-0 to the Rapids in a qualifying game last year at Home Depot Center.

It’s the second bonus game of the season for season ticket holders.

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Friday Football: Chivas USA Play in Santa Clarita Sunday & More

And with salary cap and roster size compliance day Monday, a highly-motivated bunch of young players should be on display against the Ventura County Fusion of the PDL (who will likely have former Chivas USA forward Anthony Hamilton in the side).

More on the charity game is here.

And fans will be tailgating.

Meanwhile, a player often mentioned in connection with Chivas USA is on his way home from Europe. And as if on cue, too, since club officials reiterated their desire earlier this week to sign a designated player if available this summer. I have no inside info. I’m just sayin’.

Over in Galaxyland, first round draft pick Omar Gonzalez scored his first goal in a Galaxy uniform in a closed door scrimmage against UCLA. Highlights here:

It appears Seattle and ex-Galaxy coach Sigi Schmid will be giving L.A. a run for its money leading MLS in attendance this season.

The pick of the televised games this weekend includes:
*Arsenal-Fulham 7 a.m. Saturday on Fox Soccer Channel
*Real Madrid-Espanyol 1 p.m. Saturday on GOLTV
*CD Guadalajara-Pachuca 5 p.m.Saturday on KVEA

*Sampdoria-AC Milan 9 a.m. Sunday on FSC (delayed)
*Club America-San Luis 2 p.m. Sunday on KMEX

Finally, congrats to the sports staffers at the Daily News. The section was recently named one of the 10 best in the nation in its circulation category, despite a significant loss of staff in the last few years. My soccer column appears every Tuesday in its pages (as it does in several sister newspapers in Southern California including the Torrance-based Daily Breeze) so I’ll claim a small role in that success.

More here.

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Your Daily Beckham

David Beckham and AC Milan play Germany’s Werder Bremen today in a UEFA Cup encounter and critics are increasingly questioning the Italian club’s policy of signing veteran players .

One of the best soccer writers in the country, Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl, observed this week that the Galaxy win more without Beckham in the side than with him and crunched the numbers to prove it:

“L.A.’s winning percentage since his arrival has been better in the 22 games Beckham has missed (.477) than in the 32 games he has played (.406).”

Read the whole thing here.

Adoring crowds greeted Beckham in a Milan store earlier in the week.

Finally, here’s Beckham on his on-going transfer saga:

“I have not heard from Galaxy, but from what has been said, I gather there could be good news.”

Glad that’s cleared up then.

Updated 6 p.m. – Becks is getting worried he won’t get his way and stay in Italy (oh dearie, dearie me):

MILAN (AP) – Just over week before his scheduled return to the Los Angeles Galaxy, David Beckham is becoming frustrated by the delay in his possible transfer to AC Milan.

Beckham’s loan to Milan from Major League Soccer is scheduled to end March 8. Milan
offered $3 million, but Los Angeles said it wanted at least $10 million.

Milan vice president Adriano Galliani responded by saying that the club was not
prepared to go any higher for the 33-year-old midfielder, who can terminate his MLS
contract in November.

“There’s a lot going on and a lot being said, and every day someone is asking me
questions about what’s happening,” Beckham said Thursday night after Milan was
eliminated from the UEFA Cup by Germany’s Werder Bremen. “It needn’t be said every
day, but so far I am trying to concentrate on the football. At the moment, we’ll have to
see what happens. At the moment it is being discussed and negotiated.”

Beckham played the full 90 minutes for Milan, which wasted a 2-0 lead. The 2-2 tie left
the teams 3-3 in aggregate, and the German club advanced because of more away

“It doesn’t change me wanting to play at this club and hopefully it doesn’t change other
people’s views of me wanting to stay at this club,” he said.

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Sol Fest

Think you can belt out a stirring rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner?”

The Los Angeles Sol, the new Women’s Professional Soccer franchise based in
Carson, is holding a national anthem “sing-off” at its Sol Fest March 8 at Home Depot Center.

The winner of the contest, performed in front of a panel of judges, will be
invited to sing at a Sol home game.

The free Sol Fest, which includes an open practice by the team, music, games
and locker room tours, runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. And not so coincidentally you can buy season tickets and pick out your seat.

Would-be singers should click here.

Those who would rather read a profile of Sol star Marta should click here.

And let’s hope this guy doesn’t show up at the contest:

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Breaking News: Galaxy Announces Roster Cuts

Word came down a little later than expected today, but the Galaxy just announced they have waived five players: goalkeeper Steve Cronin, defender Mike Randolph, defender Troy Roberts, last year’s fourth-round draft pick Brandon McDonald and midfielder (and 2008 second round SuperDraft pick) Ely Allen.

None of these names will come as a surprise to regular readers of this blog, which has previously reported that the majority of these players will be leaving the club (perhaps a bigger surprise is that goalkeeper Josh Wicks is not on the list – although Monday is the official MLS roster compliance date, so stay tuned).

Moreover, Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena has either not deployed these players at all – or in the case of Allen, sparingly – in preseason. And while Arena has said he wanted to take a look at newcomers, it’s pretty clear in retrospect he was clearing out the squad players he inherited and doesn’t believe are up to snuff.

Updated from the (edited) Galaxy press release:

Roberts joined the Galaxy in 2005 and was part of the club’s double winning side that season. Roberts played in 61 career games for the club, including a career-high 17 in 2008. He scored twice in his four years with the club and appeared in nine of the ten games that the Galaxy played in 2008 under Bruce Arena.

Cronin also joined the Galaxy in 2005 and became the team’s No. 1 goalkeeper in 2008. He appeared in and started a career-best 22 games, compiling a 6-9-6 record with a 2.05 goals against average before missing the final two months of the season with a fractured right hand that he suffered against New England on August 30.

Randolph was signed by the Galaxy in September in 2006, appearing in 39 games over the past two years with the club, tallying four assists. Utilized as a left back, as well as on the left side of midfield, Randolph tallied three assists in 20 games played last season.

Updated: To the survivors go the spoils and so the official Galaxy blog tells us that goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts will now wear a jersey with No. 1 on the back, Todd Dunivant will wear No.2, Omar Gonzalez will wear No. 4, Josh Saunders will wear No. 12 and Mike Magee will now wear No. 18 (which he debuted at the Pan-Pacific Championship).

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Sol Uniforms Unveiled

Marta and Swedish defender Johanna Frisk model the new Sol kit.


The seven Women’s Professional Soccer teams, including the L.A. Sol, unveiled their uniforms in a fashion show tonight in New York.

Perhaps taking a page from the L.A. Galaxy (owned by Anschutz Entertainment Group, which also has an ownership interest in the Sol), the Sol unveiled a navy blue and yellow home kit and traditional white away jersey. (The Galaxy has a blue away jersey I always thought should be the home version). And, of course, the W-League champion Pali Blues were a kind of precursor to the Sol, too, and the owner of that team is the co-owner with AEG of the Sol.

From the WPS press release:

PUMA brings a sense of fashion, flare and femininity to the kits with tailored jerseys, shorts and wraps instead of the oversized men’s soccer shorts and tees traditionally seen in the sport. Although the uniforms have a more tailored silhouette, the technical materials, cuts and shapes are driven purely by performance, designed for the players to have the maximum flexibility to get them to the ball faster. Made with 100% polyester, the PUMA WPS kits contain contract mesh inserts for comfort and breathability and, a shaped hem and flatlock stitching for a more feminine silhouette. Each garment also has a wicking finish to allow for moisture management, keeping the players dry and comfortable.

And here’s the winner of the “how many times do I get the name of my sponsor into a quote award:

“PUMA has made apparel and footwear with the player in mind and they have truly proven themselves once again with the new WPS uniforms,” said Leslie Osborne of FC Gold Pride. “As a PUMA player, I enjoy PUMA both on and off the field. Not only do they make athletic wear that performs, but its comfortable and stylish.”

The home colors of WPS are:
Boston Breakers – Team Royal
Chicago Red Stars – Team Pearl Blue
FC Gold Pride – PUMA Black (gold is the away color)
Saint Louis Athletica – USA Forest Green (grey is the unfortunate away color)
Sky Blue FC – Team Pearl Blue
Washington Freedom – New Navy

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Galaxy Update: New Director of Soccer Named, Single Game Tickets On Sale & More

The Galaxy have named David Kammarman as the club’s director of soccer operations with responsibilities that include player personnel, scouting, talent evaluation, MLS communication and collective bargaining agreement compliance.

He replaces Paul Bravo, who left for the Colorado Rapids.

Kammarman, 37, has worked with three other MLS clubs – the Chicago Fire, D.C. United, and the MetroStars – as well as with ESPN on their broadcasts of MLS and U.S. National Team games.

He’s also the identical twin brother of U.S. Men’s National Team Press officer Michael Kammarman.

The Galaxy today announced that single game tickets are on sale.

Given the economy the Galaxy has kept the price hikes down to a minimum. General admission and the seats at the extreme ends of the upper tier – the two cheapest categories of seats – remain $25 and $15 respectively.

Other categories have increased between $5 and $2, making the club’s most expensive ticket for a game $85 (not including club or fieldside seats). Fieldside seats, BTW, cost $275.

Would you pay prices like that to see a team that has failed to make the playoffs in three years, especially if Beckham doesn’t return? Thought not.

BTW, if you want to complain about (or praise) facilities at Home Depot Center direct your comments to new General Manager Katie Druetzler-Pandolfo, who joined the HDC two years ago as event manager. She replaces Rod O’Connor, who left to become chief of staff at the U.S. Department of Energy. A few more TV’s for fans stuck in those way to long concession lines would be a good start.

In another Galaxy related item, the team’s youth program, formerly known as the Galaxy Rios, will now simply be known as the L.A. Galaxy Youth Academy. The academy fields Under-16, U-18 and U-20 teams.

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Tuesday Kicks: Randolph Gone From Galaxy? (& More)

Midfielder-defender Mike Randolph virtually invisible for the Galaxy in preseason, is apparently gone from the team if you believe this posting on Big Soccer from someone who is friends with him on Facebook.

I’m awaiting confirmation from Galaxy officials, but I have no reason to believe it’s not true (and it’s fascinating how social networking sites and message boards can play a role in breaking news). Goalkeeper Steve Cronin was first reported heading to Portland on a Big Soccer thread Monday and a source with the club all but confirmed that later in the day.

(Updated 1:44 p.m. Tuesday: Randolph is gone. He was at the club’s offices today, but did not train. A formal announcement on his departure – and other cuts – is expected Wednesday).

In other Galaxy news, the club said Monday that Fox Sports West will show 18 Galaxy games this year, meaning only the Wednesday May 6 game against Real Salt Lake will not be shown on either local or national television.

That’s one reason I’m giving up my $79 Direct Kick package for the first time (another is that too many games are on at the same time anyway, making them difficult to watch). BTW, there’s a free preview of Direct Kick (available on DIRECTV, Dish and In Demand on cable) on March 21.

In New York later today, Women’s Professional Soccer will unveil all seven team uniforms with Sol star Marta and Sol Swedish defender Johanna Frisk modeling the gear of the local entrant.

Incidentally, there’s an excellent Marta profile covering her time in Sweden and eventual exit at the similarly excellent Web site The Global Game. It’s a long piece, but well worth the time.

Read it here.

Finally, this has little to do with soccer in L.A., but Galaxy fans might be a little more willing to put up with a ghastly team if they received a pay-off like this.

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