Thursday Kicks: David Beckham Plays for Free at PSG & more

  • Brand Beckham’s latest public relations move, er, club move sees him head to petro-dollar backed Paris Saint Germain where he will play for free through June in hopes of clinching a multimillion dolllar ambassador role for the World Cup in Qatar (well, that’s my guess).
  • Here’s the reaction of Lawndale’s Kei Kamara to joining EPL club Norwich City.
  • Here’s how Chivas USA fared Wednesday in their second preseason scrimmage.
  • Chivas USA forward Bradford Jamieson of Los Angeles will join the U.S. U-17 team for a camp in Carson that includes a scrimmage Friday against the Galaxy. Full roster here.
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LA Galaxy hosts Club Tijuana Feb. 19 at Home Depot Center

It appears Galaxy coach Bruce Arena got his wish.

Arena, who had expressed interest in hosting the Mexican League champions at Home Depot Center, will lead the Galaxy against the Xolos at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 19 in Carson.

Don’t expect to see the club’s top players, however; Club Tijuana opens their Copa Libertadores campaign that same evening against Colombian club Millonarios.

Tickets for the game in carson are $10; season ticket holders receive a pair free.

Also, from the Galaxy: In addition to the game between the Galaxy and Club Tijuana, fans will be able to watch some of the two clubs’ top young talent in action for free as the Galaxy Academy U-18 side will face Tijuana’s U-18’s on Field #5 at The Home Depot Center starting at 4:30 p.m. Stadium gates will then open at 6 p.m. with Galaxy President Chris Klein, AEG Sports Chief Operating Officer Kelly Cheeseman and Galaxy General Manager and Head Coach Bruce Arena sitting down with fans for a town hall style meeting at the front of section 132 on the East side of the stadium, starting at 6:30 p.m.


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Lawndale’s Kei Kamara Flies MLS Coop for EPL Club Norwich City

Kei’s House: Carrow Road, home of EPL club Norwich City and now Lawndale’s Kei Kamara (and yes, that’s me on the right being given a personal tour of the stadium by a very kind Norwich City employee back in 2006).

Lawndale’s Kei Kamara has completed his journey from refugee in war-torn Sierra Leone, which forced him to flee to Lawndale, to the EPL with Norwich City (full disclosure: I grew up in Norwich and continue to support my hometown team) completing a move from Sporting Kansas City first publicly broached last week:

This is Surreal. I said it at draft day and saying it again Dreams do come True. Allah is Great. #heartshapedhands

— KEI KAMARA (@keikamara) January 30, 2013

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LA Galaxy’s Gonzalez Bright Spot in Panned U.S. Performance against Canada

The knives were out from commentators in the wake of the insipid U.S. offensive performance against a young Canadian team trying to keep the score down in a less than compelling 0-0 tie Tuesday night in Houston that served mainly to show how lacking in inspiration the Americans are without the Galaxy’s landon Donovan.

LA central defender Omar Gonzalez, however, the subject of much attention before the game, generally fared well in the eyes of most observers and was among the highest rated U.S. players on the night:

New York Times: Against Canada, Gonzalez was not asked to do a lot but he looked decent the few times he had to make a play. On set pieces he was in good positions to be dangerous but could not capitalize. While not much was learned about Gonzalez tonight, he will most likely be involved with the team in 2013. Rating 5.5 Omar Gonzalez, 6.5 — All eyes were on Gonzalez Tuesday to see what he could do in a national team uniform. Only problem is, he was never really tested defensively, so it’s hard to take much away from his performance. Gonzalez’s distribution was sound, and he was an asset in the attack, with his header off a feed from Benny Feilhaber in the second half being the closest USA came to scoring. Even though Gonzalez didn’t do anything to really raise his stock, he did not hurt it either. He likely has himself a ticket to San Pedro Sula next week for a place on the U.S. roster that will take on Honduras. Omar Gonzalez (6.5) – It was a clean outing from the LA Galaxy defender. Gonzo would have been the star if he’d been able to put away one of those restarts.

Soccer America: 6 Omar Gonzalez (Los Angeles Galaxy) 3/0. Strong in the air and confident on the ground, Gonzalez also asserted himself in other ways. He looked like a leader, gesturing to his teammates and organizing them as necessary, since he had the middle locked down. On a well-timed leap he headed a free kick over the crossbar and he also served well as a decoy to draw defenders.

A.J. DeLaGarza did not see action.

Your thoughts?

Here’s what Gonzalez had to say:

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Tuesday Kicks: Beckham, Fraser & more

*LONDON (AP) — David Beckham is training with Arsenal as he considers his playing future.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says the former England captain called to ask if he could work on his fitness at the club’s training base outside London.

Beckham is without a club after leaving the Galaxy at the end
of a six-year stint in MLS..

Wenger stressed Tuesday that Beckham is only training with Arsenal and will not be signing with the club.

The 37-year-old Beckham, a former Manchester United star, is mulling offers from clubs around the world.

*Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez is getting his third U.S. cap tonight as the 6 p.m. game against Canada on ESPN2 gets under way.

*Former Chivas USA coach Robin Fraser has reportedly surfaced with Red Bull New York.

*The Galaxy announced Monday that former player Chris Klein will head up the Galaxy’s front office as club president, which may be a different title, but is essentially the same job as the one the fired Tom Payne used to hold.

*FC Santa Clarita storm provides the opposition for Chivas USA’s second preseason scrimmage set for 11 a.m. on field 6 at Home Depot Center. Fans are welcome to attend.

*Seven organizations in Southern California have received more than $130,000 in U.S. Soccer Foundation grants including the cities of Manhattan Beach, El Monte and the El Rancho Unified School District.


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International Soccer Preview: U.S.- Canada

The game from Houston kicks off at 6 p.m. on ESPN2 with the World Cup in Brazil 499 days away as of today (and Mexico plays Denmark at 7 p.m. Wednesday on ESPN2, BTW).

Associated Press Sports Writer Chris Duncan has more: HOUSTON (AP) — With injuries to Steve Cherundolo and Fabian Johnson, and Danny Williams’ lack of playing time, the U.S. has defensive worries heading into next week’s World Cup qualifier at Honduras, the opener in the final round to get to next year’s tournament in Brazil.

The Americans play an exhibition against Canada on Tuesday night, their only tuneup this year before the Feb. 6 qualifier in San Pedro Sula.

Regulars such as Jozy Altidore, Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley remained with their European clubs for games this weekend and will meet up with the national team on Sunday in Miami.

Cherundolo and Johnson both sat out games with their German clubs last weekend, and defender Steven Beitashour left the team’s three-week training camp in California following surgery to repair a sports hernia. Coach Jurgen Klinsmann says he’ll consider “all the alternatives” at outside backs.

“If there are some players with problems, players with injuries, players who can’t make it, or whatever,” Klinsmann said Monday, “we have all the alternatives. We have a little pool where the next in line is ready to go.”

One possible replacement is Timmy Chandler, recommitted to playing for the U.S. late last year and started at right back in an exhibition match with Russia. Born in Germany, Chandler, who plays for Nuremburg, would become tied to the American national team if he plays in a qualifier.

The outside backs in the January camp included Tony Beltran, A.J. DeLaGarza, Connor Lade, Alfredo Morales and Justin Morrow.

“We monitor closely what the players are doing in Europe, what rhythm of games they have, what goes on with injuries,” Klinsmann said. “At the same time, every training session that we do here, every scrimmage that we play here has an impact on their position the big picture.”

A total of 23 players went through Klinsmann’s January camp and 18 will suit up against Canada, already eliminated from qualifying. Klinsmann is encouraged by the growing depth he sees in the American player pool.

“We have a lot of good, quality players coming through there,” he said. “Their job is to challenge whoever is in front of them, if there is any (player) in front of them. We want to see that they’re going to show that on Tuesday night, so we’re excited about finishing off this camp in a very positive way.”

Landon Donovan is not part of the U.S. team’s immediate plans. The 30-year-old midfielder, the American career leader in goals and assists, said before the MLS Cup he would take an indefinite break from soccer.

Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said last week that he expects Donovan to return to the MLS this season, and Klinsmann wants to see how Donovan looks before the U.S. team recalls him.

“Once he’s back in training with the Galaxy, he will kind of go back into his rhythm and work on getting his game back to the highest level,” Klinsmann said. “Once he’s there and he’s playing consistently, we’ll look at it on our end.”

Among the players in the January camp, forward Eddie Johnson and midfielder Graham Zusi would seem likely to make the roster for Honduras after starting the last two qualifiers in 2012. Zusi caught Klinsmann’s attention in January camp after a strong 2011 with Sporting Kansas City and he ended up with national team appearances in 2012, including three starts in World Cup qualifiers.

“Graham became a very consistent element in our group,” Klinsmann said. “He took it already last January and started to implement it and played a very consistent, very good season with Kansas City and broke into the team and became a very important element to us.”

Klinsmann became the U.S. coach in July 2011 and the Americans went 9-2-3 in 2012, including landmark wins in exhibitions at Italy and Mexico. With World Cup qualifying and the CONCACAF Gold Cup on the schedule this season, Johnson said he sensed a high level of intensity during the January practices.

“This is crunch time,” Johnson said. “It’s time to get focused, time to get serious. All of us had good seasons last year and we put the work in for three weeks in L.A. Now, hopefully, we can let the hard work speak for itself.”

Canada, fielding its youngest roster since 2006, is coming off a 4-0 loss to Denmark in Tucson, Ariz., on Saturday.

“The main thing is the experience, getting these guys understanding what it takes to play at the international level,” said midfielder Dwayne DeRosario, a member of Canadian team since 1998. “The cost of making mistakes, at this level, will punish you.”

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Weekly Soccer Column: Chivas USA Coach Chelis Ready to Conduct MLS Campaign

The Galaxy train quietly and privately on one side of the Home Depot Center stadium, their every move hidden behind a screened fence, a legacy of the David Beckham era.

With music blaring Chivas USA practices on the other side of the stadium on a sunken pitch that affords the fans they encourage to attend training (currently scheduled for 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. weekdays) a perfect view of proceedings .

Two different clubs, two distinct cultures.

And in this week’s column I explore how the unconventional ideas of new Chivas USA coach Jose Luis Sanchez Sola — who led the club to its first preseason victory in a scrimmage against a college team over the weekend — will fit within MLS and American soccer. Read the column here and let us know what you think in the comments section below.


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Thursday Kicks: Canaries Eye Lawndale’s Kei Kamara & more

Lawndale’s Kei Kamara could be on his way to England (AP Photo).

  • EPL club Norwich City have admitted interest in Sporting Kansas City striker Kei Kamara, who emigrated from Africa to the South Bay and played at Cal State Dominguez Hills before turning pro. Full disclosure: I’m hopelessly biased as a Norwich fan, but seeing him partner Grant Holt up front would no doubt give the goal shy City attack much more substance.
  • Here’s an update from the U.S. Men’s National Team in Carson where coach Jurgen Klinsmann is talking beer and um, balls, in revealing it was his choice — not Landon Donovan’s — to keep the Galaxy playmaker out of the U.S. camp while he mulls his future.
  • Designated player Shalrie Joseph, who arrived at Chivas last year in mid-season only to see the club promptly collapse defensively, is reportedly on his way out of the club.
  • Finally, here’s one I missed: a Hawthorne resident, former South Bay Force player and Galaxy Academy player has joined what is generally regarded as the top team in Guatemala.
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Galaxy Unveils Preseason Roster

Here’s the complete Galaxy preseason roster as issued by the club this afternoon.

Players are identified by roster number, position, name, hometown and previous club or college.

1  GK Carlo Cudicini          Milan, Italy                             Tottenham Hotspur (England)

2.  D  Todd Dunivant         Wheat Ridge, Colo                 Toronto FC

4.  D Omar Gonzalez       Dallas                                      Maryland

5   D Sean Franklin           Palmdale                                  Cal State Northridge

7   F Robbie Keane          Dublin                                        Tottenham Hotspur (England)

8   M Marcelo Sarvas        Sao Paulo                                  Alajuelense (Costa Rica)

10 M Landon Donovan      Redlands                                    Bayer Leverkusen (Germany)

11 M Colin Clark                Fort Collins, Colo.                        Houston Dynamo

12 GK Brian Rowe            Eugene, Ore.                                UCLA

16 M  Hector Jiminez        Bell Gardens                                 California

17 D Bryan Gaul                Naperville, Ill.                               Bradley

18 M Mike Magee              Chicago, Ill                                    NY Red Bulls

19 M Juninho                     Sao Paulo                                    Sao Paulo (Brazil)

20 D A.J. DeLaGarza       Bryans Road, Md.                        Maryland

21 D Tommy Meyer          St. Louis                                        Indiana

22 D Leonardo                  Sao Paulo                                   Sao Paulo (Brazil)

24 GK Brian Perk              Rancho Santa Marguerita           UCLA

25 M Rafael Garcia           Canoga Park                               Cal State Northridge

26 M Michael Stephens     Napierville, Ill.                               UCLA

27 F Charlie Rugg             Roslindale, Mass.                         Boston College

28 D Kofi Opare                Niagara Falls, Ont.                       Michigan

29 F Gyasi Zardes             Hawthorne                                    Cal State Bakersfield

30 M Andy Reimer              McLean, Vt.                                  Georgetown

32 F Jack McBean              Newport Beach                            —

33 M Jose Villarreal            Inglewood                                     —

34 M Kenney Walker          Wickliffe, Ohio                               Louisville

35 M  Greg Cochrane         Holland, Penn.                             Louisville

36 D Oscar Sorto              Los Angeles                                     —

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Wednesday Kicks: Gold Cup & more

*Thirteen U.S. cities will host Gold Cup games July 7-28, but Carson’s Home Depot Center wasn’t one of the venues selected. Pasadena was, however, and will presumably host the final.

*Brooklyn Beckham, the son of former Galaxy star David Beckham, is reportedly on trial with the U-14 team of EPL club Chelsea. The younger Beckham played for the Galaxy youth Academy, wearing the same No. 23 shirt his father did with the senior team before quitting at the end of last season.

*Chivas USA will play the Colorado Rapids Feb 15 in Las Vegas on the UNLV campus as part of the Las Vegas Pro Soccer Challenge.

Chivas USA’s first preseason scrimmage is set for 10 9 a.m. Saturday at Home Depot Center against UC Irvine. Fans are welcome to attend the game on Field 6. A week from today, the Goats will play FC Storm on the same field in a 11 a.m. scrimmage. Listen to what the new Chivas USA coach has to say here.

*Incidentally, Galaxy coach Bruce Arena has said the team won’t travel during preseason, but will arrange games in Southern California, including one against Mexican League champions Club Tijuana.


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