Robbie Rogers, who grew up on the Palos Verdes Peninsula and became the first openly gay athlete in MLS when he signed for the Galaxy earlier this year, has addressed the issue of Russia’s anti-gay laws against the backdrop of the forthcoming Olympics in this USA Today column.
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
Before the explosions in Boston today, both ABC (on Nightline) and CNN were scheduled to air the first U.S. television interviews with Robbie Rogers of Rolling Hills Estates.
After today’s events I’m unsure whether the interviews will still air as scheduled, but above is an excerpt from the ABC interview with correspondent Amy Robach.
Published the day after Galaxy star Landon Donovan gave an honest and at times raw account of his search for mental health during his recent sabatical from the sport, the interview recounts Rogers’ struggles to come to terms with his sexuality given his public personna as a athlete and the rampant homophobia seen in men’s soccer.
I’ve drawn parallels between Rogers and Donovan before and do so again here in part because Rogers said in the interview he might seek to train with the Galaxy. Hopefully coach Bruce Arena and the supportive likes of Donovan will make that happen because if Rogers has any hopes of re-starting his soccer career his home here in Southern California may well be the place to do it.
Rogers has received criticism in some quarters for retiring from the game — although it’s unclear whether he has stepped away for good — but Donovan’s cry for more acceptance of mental health issues Wednesday resonates even more this morning in light of Rogers’ interview.
- No, not the German rock band, the NASL club. Former LA Galaxy midfielder-defender Bryan Jordan, 27, joins the NASL San Antonio Scorpions after being released by the Galaxy at the end of last year.
- The Galaxy have officially signed rookie defender Kofi Opare, a second round draft via Michigan out of Ghana. This was a formality; the Galaxy were awaiting paperwork.
- Diamond Bar’s Alex Morgan was on target today for the U.S. Women’s National Team.
EPL side Norwich City are picking up fans in Sierra Leone and the native of the war-torn nation, Kei Kamara, of South Bay high school and Cal State Dominguez Hills renown, is doing the same in England after two brief, but galvanizing performances for the top tier club.
The Canaries play EPL leaders Manchester United this weekend (live at 7 a.m. Saturday on ESPN2) and Kamara’s performance for Sporting Kansas City against the Red Devils in a friendly a couple of years ago is among the local media’s talking points ahead of the big game.
Kamara is still expected to come off the bench Saturday as he works his way toward match fitness, despite the hype, but he sounds like he’s thoroughly enjoying the limelight so far:
It’s really a Dream/Blessing to be on a train in United Kingdom and seeing someone reading an article bout u in the newspaper. #butterflies
— KEI KAMARA (@keikamara) February 27, 2013
Back from a 10-day vacation ahead of the start of the MLS season, I’m off to Galaxy training in a moment to hear more from coach Bruce Arena about Sunday’s announcement regarding Landon Donovan’s immediate MLS future.
That announcement followed in the wake of the bombshell of an unexpected retirement announcement by Rolling Hills Estates‘ Robbie Rogers, whose considerable promise as a player now looks like it’s going to be unfulfilled. I’ll have more on Donovan and Rogers in Tuesday’s column.
In other news while I’ve been taking a break:
*Inglewood’s Jose Villarreal is expected to lead the U-20 U.S. team today against Haiti in the opener of the regional championship with a place in the World Cup later this year in a game that will be shown live at 3:30 p.m. on Fox Soccer.
*The Galaxy played Korea’s Gangwon FC in a recent scrimmage and announced they will play Friday in Santa Barbara against the Colorado Rapids.
*Chivas USA also beat the Colorado Rapids Friday in Las Vegas, while the Goats continue to remake their roster trading midfielder Ben Zemanski to Portland last week in a move that could pave the way for the return of defender Jonathan Bornstein from Mexico.