Soccer fans who like inexpensive tacos and beer and hungry, young players willing to play their hearts out will be glad to hear the United Soccer Leagues released its 2017 schedule today.
I’m not sure the Galaxy have ever introduced a designated player with less fanfare, but the signing of French midfielder Romain Alessandrini was announced today with no press conference or media availability, which might have some relation to how many butts in seats a journeyman French midfielder who spent half his career in the lower leagues can realistically be expected to attract.
Looks like LA & MLS had to up the offer a bit to get it over the line. I'm told transfer fee is $1.75 million w/salary of $2 million. https://t.co/qbLsKYEjvf
— Jeff Carlisle (@JeffreyCarlisle) January 31, 2017
Galaxy forward Gyasi Zardes and goalkeeper Brian Rowe were among the six players released back to their clubs from the U.S. Men’s National Team camp.
Taylor Kemp (D.C. United), Keegan Rosenberry (Philadelphia), Will Trapp (Columbus) and Chris Wondolowski (San Jose) were the other players sent back to their clubs, leaving the U.S. roster at 23.
“I have been extremely pleased with the effort and progress we have seen throughout the January Camp,” U.S. coach Bruce Arena said. “The entire pool of players has performed well and has made our roster decisions very difficult. We are excited to take the next step and look forward to the game against Serbia in San Diego.”
Here is the final roster:
U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION:
GOALKEEPERS (3): David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake), Luis Robles (New York Red Bulls)
DEFENDERS (8): DaMarcus Beasley (Unattached), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Greg Garza (Atlanta United FC), Chad Marshall (Seattle Sounders FC), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna, MEX), Walker Zimmerman (FC Dallas), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
MIDFIELDERS (9): Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Benny Feilhaber (Sporting Kansas City), Jermaine Jones (LA Galaxy), Sacha Kljestan (New York Red Bulls), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Chris Pontius (Philadelphia Union)
FORWARDS (3): Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution), Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC)
Kuntz will report to General Manager and Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations John Thorrington .
Kuntz was the Director of Players Relations for Major League Soccer and before that he worked 10 years in the New York Yankees organization.
“I’m excited to work with John and the entire LAFC team to build a team that will represent our city, our league and our sport,” Kuntz said. “We are already working hard to be able to field a team that will excite our fans and bring another champion to the city of Los Angeles.”
In his new role, Kuntz will work closely with the team’s executives to bring exciting and promising coaches and players to LAFC that will bring quality to the pitch and represent the community and the club’s growing fan base.
LAFC will join Major League Soccer for the 2018 season and play at the Banc of California Stadium.
The club recently partnered with The Orange County Soccer Club in USL to expand player development.
Last month, the demolition of the Sports Arena was completed and the construction of LAFC’s new Banc of California Stadium began. The stadium is a 22,000-seat, soccer-specific stadium which will bring more than $350 million in private investment to South Los Angeles.
Villafana, 27, played with Portland in MLS and made 26 appearances for Santos Laguna at the start of 2016.
Villafana, originally from Anaheim, is the inaugural winner of Sueno MLS, a reality show that led to a tryout with MLS. He was eventually signed to a professional contract with Chivas USA in 2007.
Villafana, then Jorge Flores, made 86 appearances for Chivas USA and then 52 with Portland before moving to Mexico.
Brian Rowe has come a long way in one season.
He wasn’t the Galaxy starting in goal entering the 2016 MLS season, but took advantage of an opportunity and finished up appearing in 31 of 34 games. He recorded nine clean sheets and made 113 saves.
“It was my first long stretch of games played, but knowing what it takes to be a starter throughout the year and how to prepare yourself week in and week out to be healthy,” Rowe said. “I felt like I met a lot of goals that I set for myself at the beginning of the year and I know there is still a lot of work to be done.”
His performance eventually translated into receiving a call into his first national team camp.
Rowe is one of four keepers in camp with the U.S as they prepare for Sunday’s friendly against Serbia. He is joined by David Bingham (San Jose), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake) and Luis Robles (New York).
“It is a great honor to get called in and to be one the goalies that gets to represent his country in this camp,” Rowe said from national team training recently. “Once camp had started, I was getting ready for the Galaxy season, I was kind of planning my workouts. Then Matt Reis called me to tell me that (Seattle goalkeeper Stefan) Frei had been injured and they were bringing me in.
“First day was a little rusty, jumping right in, but I’ve been slowly getting the wheels going and I feel more comfortable and just have fun with it.”
Bruce Arena, who coached Rowe with the Galaxy knows that the future is certainly bright for Rowe.
“This will be a good experience for Brian,” Arena said. “We had some choices, but we know the player and I think he could come in right away and contribute in training. We’ll see how he progresses in the goalkeeping competition.
“With any inexperienced goalkeeper, the more games you get the better. Two hundred games from now, he’s going to be a heck of a lot better than he is now. Goalies need games. He got better as the season went on.”
The Orange County Soccer Club, formerly known as the Orange County Blues FC,
announced three signings last week.
OCSC signed a 24-year-old winger Jerry Van Ewjik, who spent the last three seasons playing for De Graafschap and Go Ahead Eagles in the Dutch Eredivisie and Eerste Divisie. He scored 24 goals with nine assists.
Also returning is veteran midfielder Richard Chaplow. Chaplows joined the Blues in the second half of last year.
The club also announced the signing of Dusan Stevanovic
Galaxy fan favorite Alan Gordon confirmed in an Instagram post that he’s signing with the Colorado Rapids.
Gordon had two stints with the Galaxy. First from 2005-2010 and from 2014-2016. He scored 29 goals with the club.
"I cannot say goodbye to those whom I have grown to love, the memories we have made will last a lifetime, and will never know a goodbye" I want to thank Chris Klein, Bruce Arena and the entire Galaxy @lagalaxy family for giving me another opportunity to represent the club that I love. Thank you to all my galaxy teammates who I will truly miss. You've pushed me and inspired me to be a man I didn't know Was possible for me. You have a brother for life. And now to @angelcitybrigade @lariotsquad and every galaxy fan. We have been through a lot. Thank you first for your forgiveness. Second, for your love and support. I will always cherish the memories we made on the field and the beers we drank everywhere else. Until we meet again. But With every ending is a new beginning. I'm excited and thankful for the opportunity the @coloradorapids have given me and hope to contribute to the successes of both the team and organization. Much love, Gordo
The Orange County Blues FC has been rebranded as the Orange County Soccer Club, it was announced Friday.
The club also unveiled a new logo which was developed with fan input.
“In selecting a name and logo, I wanted the primary focus to be on
Orange County,” Owner James Keston said. “Where most teams in Orange County in the past have shied away from having the OC be a part of their logo, we really wanted to embrace it and make it a focal point. We wanted to give fans something that readily identifies the club as Orange County’s team.”
The logo was designed by branding company Art Machine. The club hosted a series of events with fans to give their input on design options.
The club plays in the USL.