Galaxy beat writer Phil Collin has more here.
Sister newspaper the San Jose Mercury News checked in with Southern Californian Maurice Edu at the U.S. Men’s National Team camp in the Bay Area.
In other World Cup related news:
- Striker Clint Dempsey is likely to be the pivotal American player in Brazil, not least because it has been a long time since an actual U.S. striker scored an actual World Cup goal.
- Tournament organizers held “stress tests” at still-incomplete World Cup venues Sunday. Guess what? They passed. The real test is next month, however.
- Maybe the best place to watch the action is closer to home at local viewing parties, perhaps at the Port of Los Angeles?
Galaxy coach Bruce Arena, still seeking a wide player capable of running at opposing back lines, has called time on Bell Gardens native Hector Jimenez turning into that player.
The 25-year-old midfielder, drafted by the Galaxy in 2011, was shipped to the Columbus Crew today in exchange for the 23rd overall pick in Thursday’s SuperDraft as well as allocation money.
Jimenez scored four goals in 43 Galaxy appearances including three goals in 14 starts last year. The lightweight, 140-pound Jimenez struggled to become the consistent attacking threat Arena was looking for — much like fellow winger Robbie Rogers, frankly — and apparently former Galaxy assistant coach Gregg Berhalter found Jimenez more convincing than Arena did now that he has returned to MLS with the Crew.
“Hector is an exciting young player and we are pleased to welcome him to our club,” Berhalter said in a statement. “He is a player that possesses several strong attacking attributes and will help our squad immediately.”
The trade means the Galaxy have no first round draft pick for the first time since 2007, an indication that Arena is not impressed with the quality of available players. The Galaxy also have a fourth round pick (72nd overall) acquired in a July 2012 trade with the New York Red Bulls.
Instead I wrote a front page story about Rolling Hills Estates’ Robbie Rogers, the Galaxy midfielder who has had a life-changing 2013.
This isn’t necessarily a story about homophobia, gay soccer players, Christmas or family.
Or it’s a story about all those things wrapped up in a plea for simple human dignity and equality.
Take your pick.
But let’s move Beyond It.
The column will resume in 2014.
At least for one day, so the former Cal State Dominguez Hills and UCLA goalkeeper who grew up on the Palos Verdes Peninsula and spent a decade as a fixture between the posts in LA can retire as a Galaxy player.
The petition is here.
I’m sure the idea is a long shot, but as far as public relations go it’s a worthy effort to honor the only MLS player who made in excess of 400 appearances in the league and won two MLS Cups with the Galaxy before moving to Kansas City.
The mere fact the LA Riot Squad would float the idea shows how well regarded Kevin Hartman, who officially retired Thursday as a member of Red Bull New York, was regarded by fans in Southern California.
“It has been an honor and thrill to play in Major League Soccer over the last 17 years and I first want to thank my family and friends for their unbelievable support. In addition, I also want to recognize my former coaches, teammates, clubs and most importantly, the fans for being a huge part of this ride,” Hartman said. “It was a privilege to have this dream job and watch soccer and the League grow by leaps and bounds since I began my career. I am truly looking forward to the next stage of my life and am very thankful for the many memories and relationships I have made along the way.”
Hartman, who also made five appearances for the U.S., was affectionately known as El Gato, although I always thought his positioning owed as much if not more to his success as his agility.
Hartman made around 250 appearances for the Galaxy and was also an articulate spokesman off the field in a locker room full of quotable, perceptive players that included Chris Albright, who also retired this season with NYRB.
I still remember sitting with him in the then Home Depot Center stands before the stadium officially opened in mid-2003 with Hartman a little in awe of the stunning soccer-specific stadium he would be playing in before friends and family.
Hartman was always like that: genuine, approachable and a pleasure to watch and talk to.
Whether he retires as a Galaxy player or not, Hartman will always occupy a special place in franchise history.
But General Manager Chris Klein could make himself and the club look good in the eyes of fans by re-signing Hartman, however briefly.
“Kevin deserves to be remembered as one of the all-time greats in Major League Soccer,” said Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke. “Having the opportunity to both compete against him as a player and coach him this season, it is clear to me that Kevin is the ultimate competitor and professional and it was an honor to work with him.”
Reclamation project? Carlos Bocanegra, used to playing in red and white stripes, has joined Chivas USA (AP file photo).
Carlos Bocanegra has fallen out of favor with the U.S. national team, was reduced to playing Spanish second division soccer last season and struggled with a hamstring injury that limited his appearances as he nears the end of his career, but that didn’t stop outmanned Chivas USA from picking up the UCLA product today in a trade with Toronto FC.
Bocanegra, 34, had officially left Glasgow Rangers on Saturday, according to reports.
The Canadian club received a first round draft pick in 2015 and an international slot in exchange for Chivas USA moving up the MLS allocation order to sign the Upland native and former U.S. captain.
“This is great news for Chivas USA, as Carlos Bocanegra is a very experienced player with great image and with a strong desire to be in California after his time in European soccer”, said Chivas USA Sporting President Dennis te Kloese. “I think his experience is going to be very valuable for us, as he knows MLS well from when he played for Chicago Fire, and has a long track record with the U.S. Men’s National Team.
Bocanegra played 116 times for the U.S. and for the likes of Fulham and Glasgow Rangers in Europe, although injury has restricted recent appearances for Racing Santander.
“I’m very excited to join the club,” said Bocanegra. “I know it’s going to be a big challenge because the club hasn’t been getting the greatest results on the field but it’s something I’m looking forward to. The club has made me feel very welcomed and did a big effort to have me sign with the club so that I’ll be able to help try to turn the team around into being on the positive foot.
“It feels really good to be coming back home,” he added. “I’ve been following MLS a lot more closely this year, and I got my start here in the League, so I’m excited to seeing personally how much the League has grown. I’ve noticed how it’s grown so much by following it on TV and the internet, but actually being out there on the field and being able to compete make me excited to see how the level has gotten better and how it’s grown.”
Bocangra will join the club in Philadelphia and is eligible to play in the July 12 game there against the Union.
I’ll have more from Bocanegra in Tuesday’s column.
Galaxy players Oscar Sorto of Los Angeles and Jose Villarreal of Inglewood are among the Southern California contingent on the U.S. U-20 World Cup roster that opens today (Photo courtesy LA Galaxy/German Alegria).
More on the opening match against World Cup favorites Spain (who have taken an early 1-0 lead) currently under way on ESPN 2 is here.
In other soccer news:
- Check out Hermosa Beach resident Abby Wambach’s historic achievement.
South Bay soccer player Robbie Rogers, who recently came out as gay, appeared on ABC’s “Nightline” last night to discuss NBA player Jason Collins’ admission that he is homosexual and what it was like to return to his family after making his public admission.
I hesitated blogging about this yet again, but it’s a subject and discussion some still need to hear judging by the response to Collins’ announcement.
Let’s hope we see Rogers back on a soccer field in a competitive game sooner rather than later, although he did make it out to Galaxy training today:
— Robbie Rogers (@robbierogers) April 30, 2013
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) April 30, 2013