Galaxy’s Berhalter becomes first player-coach in club history

The 37-year-old central defender signed a new one-year contract, the club announced this afternoon.

Berhalter slowed visibly last season, his second with the Galaxy after a 15-year career in Europe, and by season’s end was mulling retirement.

Injuries limited Berhalter to just 16 games last season. In his first season the Galaxy allowed just 31 regular season goals, exactly half the number that they had conceded the previous season.

“In addition to his role on the field, he will also be joining the club’s technical staff and will be working with our defenders and the reserve team,” Coach Bruce Arena said.

Berhalter recently completed his USSF “B” coaching license. He joins associate head coach Dave Sarachan, assistant coach Cobi Jones and goalkeeper coach Ian Feuer on Arena’s staff.

“It’s not that often that a player has both of those responsibilities so I’m excited,” Berhalter said of the opportunity to become a player-coach. “It shouldn’t be much different from my role on the field. It’s using my experience and my leadership to help in another capacity.”

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About Nick Green

South Bay-based Los Angeles News Group columnist and blogger Nick Green writes about soccer at the 100 Percent Soccer blog at www.insidesocal.com/soccer and craft beer at the Beer Goggles blog at www.insidesocal.com/beer. Cheers!