Weekly Soccer Column: U.S. Men’s National team opens annual camp in Carson ahead of hectic 2015

The U.S. Men’s National Team, already facing a busy year, opened their annual camp in Carson Monday with two young Galaxy players on the roster for the first time, defender Oscar Sorto and striker Gyasi Zardes from Hawthorne.

I was just in awe,” Zardes told reporters Monday after his first training session of the email he received from national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann inviting him to camp. “When I was in Hawthhorne this was a dream. It’s what you dream about.”

Sorto had a similar reaction to his U.S. call-up.

Klinsmann has spoken of the importance of players like Zardes’ attacking partner on the Galaxy, Robbie Keane, and recently-signed EPL veteran Steven Gerrard and their role in grooming up and coming youngsters:

“Theyre doing a tremendous amount of work getting our players to another level. These are the guys we need in the United States to help our guys grow even faster.”

Zardes agreed:

“Robbie Keane is a phenomenal player and I’m a student of the game and I just try to learn as much as I can from the veterans like these guys who are on the national team,” he said, adding that he is looking forward to seeing Keane, who had brief spell at Liverpool, and Gerrard reunited with the Galaxy.

For more, read this week’s 100 Percent Soccer column.

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LA Galaxy announce preseason schedule, but no home games are slated for StubHub Center in Carson before March 6 home opener

Galaxy

Galaxy players report to preseason training Jan. 22 for physicals and will play two overseas preseason tuneups in Europe, but the team is not scheduled to play a home preseason friendly ahead of the MLS opener March 6 against the Chicago Fire in Carson, the club announced today.

The Galaxy departs for Europe Feb. 11 where it will meet fellow Anschutz Entertainment Group-owned club Hammarby Feb. 16 in Sweden and Irish club Shamrock Rovers Feb. 21 in Dublin.

Want to try out for the Galaxy? here’s more from the club press release:

LA Galaxy II will hold its second-annual Open Tryout Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 for a chance to join the team for the upcoming 2015 USL PRO season. Members from the LA Galaxy and LA Galaxy II technical staff, who will be on hand for tryouts, will select a minimum of two players to trial with Los Dos for the preseason with the opportunity to play in the club’s 2015 campaign.

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LA Galaxy duo Gyasi Zardes of Hawthorne and Angeleno Oscar Sorto named to annual U.S. National Team camp in Carson

The 28-player roster contains the usual mix of veterans (Clint Dempsey, Chris Wondolowski), youngsters (Hawthorne’s Gyasi Zardes and Galaxy defender Oscar Sorto) and even some players veteran journalists have never heard of (but there’s no room for Galaxy left back Robbie Rogers or Omar Gonzalez for that matter).

The camp runs Monday through Feb. 8 at StubHub Center and culminates with a Feb. 8 friendly against Panama in Carson (more than 10,000 tickets sold already U.S. Soccer reported today). In between the team will head to Chile for a Jan. 28 friendly.

Quotable:

“The prize in 2015 for the senior National Team is the Gold Cup, and this camp will give a lot of our players a chance to kick start their preparations for an important year,” said coach Jurgen Klinsmann. “We also get an opportunity to introduce the next wave of young players into the program, and in particular work with many of our Olympic-age guys as they build toward qualifying for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.”

Notable: Zardes, 23, scored 16 goals during the 2014 MLS regular season.

Here’s the full roster:

goalkeepers – Alex Bono (unattached), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Jon Kempin (Sporting Kansas City), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake).

defenders — Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), Christian Dean (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Jermaine Jones (New England Revolution), Perry Kitchen (D.C. United), Shane O’Neill (Colorado Rapids), Oscar Sorto (LA Galaxy)

Midfielders – Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Mix Diskerud (out of contract), Dennis Flores (Club Leon), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake), Miguel Ibarra (Minnesota United FC), Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution), Marc Pelosi (Liverpool FC), Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids), Brek Shea (Orlando City SC), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew)

forwards – Tesho Akindele (FC Dallas), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Julio Morales (Tepic), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Bobby Wood (1860 Munich), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)

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Watch: New LA Galaxy signing Steven Gerrard speaks about his move to LA — and watch highlights of his 10 best goals

MLS beat writer Phil Collin has more on Gerrard’s signing by the Galaxy.

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Complete 2015 LA Galaxy MLS schedule released with 14 games on national TV

Time to bone up on the lyrics to the Liverpool classic “You’ll Never Walk Alone” for the home opener now that the Galaxy have signed Steven Gerrard and the complete MLS schedule was released today.

MLS has made a massive effort to schedule the vast majority of games on weekends (only three Wednesday Galaxy games in 2015) although the new television rights deal has dictated an increased number of Friday night games.

And although it makes scheduling a road trip to take in more than one away game a lot more challenging (Orlando in June or October in Seattle anyone?), MLS has also attempted to alternate home and away games in an apparent effort to get fans in the routine of expecting a home game every other week (something this critic has long wanted to boost attendance).

Among the tidbits: 14 games on national TV and the other 20 on local television, expansion team New York City FC visits StubHub Center Sunday, Aug. 23.

Here’s more from the Galaxy news release:

The first California Clasico against San Jose will take place when the Galaxy travel to Stanford Stadium on Saturday, June 27. The Galaxy will host the California Clasico at StubHub Center Friday, July 17 before the third and final matchup will take place at San Jose’s new Avaya Stadium Friday, Aug. 28, with both matches shown live on Univision. The Galaxy are 28-18-12 all-time against their Northern California rivals in regular season matches.

The club’s annual Fourth of July game features a match against Toronto at StubHub Center, marking the 20th consecutive season that the Galaxy will host a game on Independence Day, the longest such stretch in American professional sports.

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An English icon arrives in MLS: LA Galaxy confirm signing of Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard

So a Liverpool icon “replaces” a former Evertonian in the Galaxy starting XI.

Tell us what you think about the Galaxy signing Steven Gerrard in this poll.

Oh, and on Monday the Galaxy announced the club had re-signed forward Alan Gordon to a new contract.

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Weekly Soccer Column and a poll: LA Galaxy expected to clinch signing of Liverpool’s “Captain Fantastic” Steven Gerrard — was it the right move?

Britain Soccer Liverpool Gerrard Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard was named Man of the Match after his two-goal FA Cup performance for Liverpool Monday (Associated Press file photo)

But is Steven Gerrard still capable of playing consistently fantastic soccer in MLS?

Read this week’s 100 Percent Soccer column here and then take the poll below.

Does Steven Gerrard still have what it takes to be a success in MLS with the LA Galaxy?
Yes, he’s a worthy successor to Landon Donovan
No, he’s past it and the Galaxy should have looked elsewhere for a new DP
Who is Steven Gerrard?
  
Free polls from Pollhost.com

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Weekly Soccer Column: LA Galaxy defender Robbie Rogers speaks out against FIFA World Cup bigotry and homophobia

South Bay native Robbie Rogers was once so in denial about his sexuality he could not admit to himself that he was gay.

That’s changed and now the LA Galaxy defender has found the courage to speak out against the kind of FIFA stupidity illustrated above by the clueless Sepp Blatter. For more, read this week’s 100 Percent Soccer column on the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in Russia and Qatar.

And happy holidays.

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LA Galaxy Notebook: Galaxy to open Major League Soccer season March 6 against Mike Magee and Chicago Fire

LA Galaxy II top scorer Chandler Hoffman was selected by the Houston Dynamo Thursday afternoon in the MLS Re-Entry Draft.

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