The LA Galaxy made the first major moves of a busy 2017 offseason today by announcing the players that have had their options exercised and declined in order to satisfy a litany of MLS rules and guidelines that will eventually lead to the 2018 season.
And they declined the options of midfielder Jermaine Jones, goalkeeper Jon Kempin, midfielder Rafael Garcia, goalkeeper Brian Rowe, forward Jose Villarreal, forward Jack McBean, midfielder Raul Mendiola, defender Pele Van Anholt, goalkeeper Clement Diop, midfielder Jaime Villarreal, forward Jack McInerney, defender Nathan Smith and defender Bradley Diallo.
In addition, there were already eight players who remained under contract through the 2018 season. Those players include forward Giovani dos Santos, midfielder Jonathan dos Santos, midfielder Romain Alessandrini, defender Michael Ciani, midfielder João Pedro, forward Gyasi Zardes, and defender Hugo Arellano.
The club has separated from a total of 13 players (13 currently on the roster), with both Ashley Cole and Baggio Husidic having contracts that expire at the end of the year. That could mean that the Galaxy are negotiating their return. If the numbers line up they could both be in uniform for the Galaxy in 2018.
2017 OFFSEASON ROSTER DECISIONS
|OPTION EXERCISED||Emmanuel Boateng, Bradford Jamieson, Daniel Steres, Dave Romney, Ariel Lassiter|
|OPTIONS DECLINED||Jermaine Jones, Jack McInerney, Pele van Anholt, Brian Rowe, Jose Villarreal, Rafael Garcia, Clement Diop, Jack McBean, Raul Mendiola, Bradley Diallo, Jon Kempin, Jaime Villarreal, Nathan Smith|
|ALREADY UNDER CONTRACT FOR 2018||Romain Alessandrini, Hugo Arellano, Michael Ciani, Giovani dos Santos, Jonathan dos Santos, Sebastian Lletget, Joao Pedro, Gyasi Zardes|
|CONTRACTS EXPIRE AT THE END OF 2017||Baggio Husidic, Ashley Cole|
With the 13 departures, the Galaxy have shed $1,881,391 in base salary using the 2017 salary figures compiled by the MLS Players Union. That translates into more than $2 million in guaranteed salary using the same numbers from the union.
While we’ve known the names of five of the Galaxy’s releases since shortly after the end of the season (McBean, Smith, Jose and Jaime Villarreal, Mendiola), and have widely speculated on others (Rowe, Diop, Kempin, Garcia), others may come as a surprise.
Jones is the biggest name on the list and one that many had theorized would remain on the club. Galaxy Head Coach Sigi Schmid spoke highly of the midfielder in the last games for the Galaxy and his declined option doesn’t mean the end of his time with the Galaxy.
As with all the players who have had their options declined, they are still eligible to sign back with the club. In some cases, take Jones for example, the Galaxy may be just declining their option to renegotiate the terms of his contract – perhaps looking to save money on a player who showed flashes of solid play, but also cause his share of issues for the club with both injuries and his personality costing him some games on the bench.
The organization, meanwhile, will undertake another rebuilding year — this time under Head Coach Sigi Schmid and Director of Player Personnel and Scouting, Kurt Schmid. If you go back to Bruce Arena’s roster overhaul after the 2015 season, and you compare that to the remodel and subsequent stripping of veterans by then General Manager Pete Vagenas after the 2016 season, this will be the third group of people to attempt to re-make the Galaxy after their MLS Cup success in 2014.
There are still 56 days remaining until the Galaxy report for preseason training in January of 2018. But with no goalkeepers and only 13 players on the roster, it’s safe to say the club and the Schmid’s will be very, very busy in that time.
In fact, the Galaxy will now prepare for a half-day trade window that opens on December 10, ahead of the December 12 Expansion Draft that will see the Los Angeles Football Club make their entry into the league.
For a complete list of the offseason calendar make sure to check out our story covering those announcements.
It was always going to be a long road back to success from finishing last in the league for the first time in franchise history in 2017. But with 17 roster spots up for grabs, multiple drafts ahead, free agency, and new people scouting talent around the world, the Galaxy have the ability to reconstruct, and possibly improve, a huge part of their failed roster experiment of last year.