Photo by LA Galaxy

The Anti-Beckham: after a week in LA, Steven Gerrard simply wants to “contribute”

At a press conference capping off his first week training with the team, Steven Gerrard was perhaps most notable for the stark contrast he makes against the last high-profile Englishman to sign with LA.

For starters, the words most bandied about to describe the Liverpool mainstay were “quiet,” and “respectful.” “It’s his body language,” said Sebastian Lletget, asked about Steven Gerrard’s leadership. “That’s how you learn off him. He’s not too vocal — he’s vocal but not too much.”

“It’s his body language, that’s how you learn off him. He’s not too vocal.”
—Sebastian Lletget on Steven Gerrard

The apparent ease with which Gerrard has settled in is a rarity, and enough so that his teammates have noticed. “It’s kind of weird. It was kind of seamless,” said Alan Gordon. “It’s like he’s been here for a while. It’s a strange feeling — maybe that’s one of his qualities. He’s not a loud guy, but he has a presence about him.”

And it’s that presence that’s making such a good impression. “Coming in the first day, he knew everybody’s name,” said Lletget. “That’s huge, that just sets the example for everyone.”

Coming in the first day, he knew everybody’s name.”
—Sebastian Lletget

For his part, Gerrard seems most interested in fitting in. At a press conference afterward, he was full of praise for the LA Galaxy. “We’ve got a fantastic team here, a fantastic setup,” he told a packed room. “If I can just add a little bit to that, and contribute to the best of my ability, I think the future can be very bright.”

But while Gerrard seems to be downplaying his contribution, his teammates were practically salivating at the thought of it. “His passing is incredible,” said Robbie Keane. “Certainly for a striker, he’s good to play with. He finds you in little pockets, certainly, where I [like to] play.”

If I can just add a little bit to that… I think the future can be very bright.”
—Steven Gerrard

During a scrimmage before the press conference, Gerrard looked more than comfortable with his new team. Even on a crowded half-length field, his passes were smart and sharp, and seemed to elevate the off-the-ball movement around him. And Gerrard combined especially well with his former teammate, Robbie Keane.

“As long as you’re on their wavelength, I think we’ll do good stuff,” Lletget said about the duo. “We’re linking up well, so hopefully it just transitions off to the main pitch.”

Everyone seems hopeful that transition happens sooner than later. Although Bruce Arena plans to ease him in, the head coach was quick to add “he’ll be ready to play 90 minutes in the near future.”

It’s quotes like that, along with Galaxy President Chris Klein’s assertion that Gerrard “has done his homework,” that should give LA fans cause for excitement. Gerrard looks ready to make an impact, and as the season ramps toward the playoffs, it couldn’t come at a better time.

In his own words: “I want to get off to a good start. I’m not coming here with any excuses that I need months to settle in — I’m looking to fire from the beginning.”