LA Galaxy, the perennial winners and wealthy MLS club, has switched up their roster quite a bit during this offseason. Bruce Arena, the club manager, apparently decided that collecting superstars in the later stages of their careers is a downright no-brainer. Who would want to train and develop bright young kids when you could simply set up a U35 All-World B-squad and sit back and watch? The players they brought in are all big names or had promising careers at one point, but is this good for the club in the long term? Is it even good in the short term? We’ll get into that, but first, let’s get a live look at the Galaxy training grounds:
LA Galaxy’s New Players:
The Galaxy have brought in several new players in the offseason, headlined by international stars Ashley Cole, Jelle Van Damme, and Nigel de Jong. Their average age is almost 33 and they are all older than 31. They also picked up MLS veteran star Mike Magee who turns 32 this year. When you add that to returning superstars Stevie Gerard and Robbie Keane, who are both 35, the club is really starting to feel old. These guys may all have some good soccer left in them, and they were all born with serious talent, but it certainly puts into light the strategy of the front office in LA. Championship now or bust. They gave up a 2016 draft spot for some extra cash to make these moves, so hopefully for Galaxy fans it pays off soon.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the four older stars they brought in:
- Ashley Cole: Former English stud defender, shot guy by accident, guy lived, apologized like a good chap
- Jelle Van Damme: Belgian defender, tried out Premier League, liked Belgium better
- Nigel de Jong: Dutch brute, kicks guys in chest and breaks legs repeatedly, nice fella
- Mike Magee: Former Galaxy star, Won MVP in ’13 for Chicago, got injured, came back
There were a couple moves made in the offseason that did actually bring some young talent to the squad, primarily the addition of budding star Emmanuel Boateng. The 22 year old Ghanian has shown some promise in the US and Sweden and Bruce Arena seems amped up about it.
LA Galaxy’s Departing Players:
So you can’t just pick up all these former ballers without making room on the roster, and Arena did just that by letting defender Omar Gonzalez and midfielder Juninho go to Mexico after the 2015 season. Both players are young and promising, so it was a bit of a surprise letting them both go.
Don’t get me wrong, the Galaxy have some good young talent. Robbie Rodgers, Gyasi Zardes, Giovani dos Santos, and promising prospect Jose Villareal are all 28 or younger. Zardes and Villareal are even homegrown, so there’s hope for the squad there too. But overall, it’s a bit alarming how much weight the front office is putting on signing established players. They may be able to help coach the younger guys, but that should have been settled with Robbie Keane, Steven Gerard, and Alan Gordon on the roster. I can see bringing back Mike Magee as a backup to aging Keane, and maybe even Ashley Cole to add some world class pedigree to the defense, but I don’t really get the de Jong or Van Damme signings. Hopefully de Jong doesn’t do any damage to any more fibulas.
“Am I the ball? What is the meaning of life if this whole time, I, Xabi Alonso, have been the ball?” – Deep Thoughts by Xabi Alonso while getting boot-wholloped by Nigel de Jong