Cali kid: Kyle Nakazawa of Palos Verdes Estates is now a Galaxy player.
I’ve followed the career of Palos Verdes Estates’ Kyle Nakazawa since he pulled the strings in midfield for UCLA.
Now he’s joined his hometown Galaxy and will (hopefully) play regularly at Home Depot Center, a stadium where you can see the Palos Verdes Peninsula in the distance.
I recently had the opportunity to chat briefly with Nakazawa after one of his first training sessions since joining the club from the Philadelphia Union.
Question: Are you glad to be home?
Answer: I went from not too good of a situation (in Philadelphia) to the best situation ever – being home, playing where I grew up. I couldn’t ask for anything (better). My entire famiy is super happy; my parents were ecstatic when they heard the news, so it has been a positive transition for everybody.
Q: What is going on at the Union with all these major players changes?
A: To be honest, I have no idea. I just know they’re making a bunch of changes and I think they’re going in a different direction with their team. Some players they decided to keep, some players they had different plans for. In the end it worked out for me because I ended up coming back here, back home, but I think they’re just doing a big overhaul of their team.
Q: Was the trade a big surprise to you?
A: It wasn’t a huge surprise. I played a lot during the first half of last season, but then during the last half of the year I was struggling to find playing time. The most important thing for any player is to finish strong and towards the end of last season I wasn’t playing much and had a feeling the team had a different outlook as far as my future (with it).
We had barely even started training over there (this year) and then there was talk of me heading west. I didn’t think it was going to be resolved this quickly, but obviously I couldn’t be happier. I was on the first flight out (of Philadelphia) the next morning. I was ready to get out of there.
Q: What about your opportunities with the Galaxy? They have a pretty loaded roster in midfield.
A: It’s probably the most competitive midfield in the league. But I’m here to work hard and contribute anywhere on the field that I can. If I continue to work hard and improve every day I’ll get a chance.
Q: How is it being back on a squad with former Bruins Michael Stephens and Brian Perk?
A: It’s kind of like a UCLA reunion. I had played with those guys even before that in (U-17) residency (in Bradenton, Fla.). It’s a weird feeeling, but it’s also really cool. There’s a lot of players here on the Galaxy (squad) I’m really familiar with and trained in the offseason with while I was at UCLA. So I’m comfortable with how the guys play – it’s a great feeling (to be here).