With a sizable roster shake-up in the offseason, the LA Galaxy players and staff were eager to open preseason training camp on the grounds of the StubHub Center in Carson, CA.
Head Coach Sigi Schmid kept the training session light and enjoyable to help ease the players back into their daily soccer routine. His goals for the day were for the players to get a few touches in and get to know each other a little better:
“I’m not a coach who likes to come in 2 to 3 days in ‘okay let’s go full petal to the metal and see what we can do,’ it’s like ‘okay, let’s get all the rust off and when we get in to Tucson, it’s going to be work.’ I’m confident we’re going to be able to build that and build our fitness and be ready.”
Cohesion seemed to be on the minds of many participating today, and rightfully so. Many of the regular faces from the last few years were not present at training and were replaced by new signings who will be trying to prove they deserve a spot in the starting line up ahead of the team’s first MLS match on March 4th.
“I think it feels nice to come back and see kind of a few fresh faces and then we’ve come back now with half a new team,” veteran defender Ashley Cole stated. “After a difficult season last season, maybe some of the faces, it was kind of time for them to move on, whether it was the Galaxy’s idea or the players’ idea they want to move on… We had a lot of young players last year, and now we’ve brought in little more experienced, older players. So hopefully, in the long run, this season we’ll come together as a team and it all starts together.”
Besides the new additions to the squad, one player returning to the fold made Schmid feel like the team was “picking up a new player.” Sebastian Lletget’s return has been long-awaited by many in the LA Galaxy community, but don’t expect Lletget to be able to jump right back into the swing of things. Schmid explained, “we’re going to be really cautious with him. I don’t think the fans should expect him necessarily to be in the starting lineup opening day, but we want to make sure we bring him along because he’s a super huge piece for this team”
Today’s training session was the first step in order for the LA Galaxy to return to their winning ways, and the team’s goals for the year are nothing short of that.
“Obviously our goal is to make the playoffs. You can’t win a championship unless you make the playoffs.” Schmid continued, “that’s where we want to be, we want to be competing for a championship. Obviously, there’s MLS, and there’s Supporters Shield and there’s the Open Cup, and we want to compete for all of them.”
Looking ahead, the LA Galaxy will be continuing to gear up for their upcoming season by way of training in Tuscon, AZ from January 28th to February 5th, with their first preseason match in Tuscon on Saturday, February 3rd.