First, it was Steven Gerrard departing the LA Galaxy, then it was Associate Head Coach, Dave Sarachan. Now it’s LA Galaxy captain, and legend, Robbie Keane’s turn to call it quits with LA.
In an official press release from the team, it was announced that Robbie Keane will no longer be part of the LA Galaxy. Keane, a longtime captain, and leader on and off the field will end his Galaxy career having played in 125 games, scoring 83 goals, and amassing 10,808 minutes during the regular season. In addition, he tacked on an additional nine goals in 21 games and nearly 2,000 minutes in the MLS playoffs. Which lead him to three MLS Cups with the Galaxy and an MLS MVP award in 2014.
By any measure, since his midseason arrival in 2011, Robbie Keane has been a success. His mindset was always praised, he adjusted to the league, the travel, and the physicality, and he rarely complained about any of it. His only goal was to win championships.
Fans loved to have Robbie Keane on their team and opposing teams supporters hated playing against him. He was boisterous with his gestures and never liked a foul call against him. He would yell at opposing players and his own teammates alike. The difference was, that his teammates never seemed to mind — they saw it as motivational and inspiring.
However, 2016 was a different year altogether. Much like Steven Gerrard, Keane had a hard time staying healthy. He only played in half the Galaxy’s games this year (17) and made little impact when he did. Although he scored ten goals this year, he lacked his customary quickness and his usual ability to create from nothing.
And his pairing with Giovani dos Santos seemed to do neither of them any favors. They routinely took up the same space and with Keane not as quick as he used to be, Dos Santos quickly became the preferred starter. This was especially evident in the LA Galaxy’s 3 playoff games. Keane didn’t start a single one. Dos Santos started all three.
But the real tragedy here is that LA Galaxy fans didn’t have a chance to say goodbye. They didn’t get the applause after games, or the midfield ceremony for a man who’s largely responsible for the three most recent championship runs. Keane deserved to get a send-off from the team he carried through ups and downs.
Keane penned an open letter to the supporters and posted it on the LAGalaxy.com:
LA Galaxy Supporters,
I can confirm that after five fantastic years I will be leaving the LA Galaxy. It’s been a privilege to have played my part in the history of such a great club and I leave with memories that will stay with me forever. Winning three MLS Cups, scoring over 100 goals for the club and being named as 2014 MVP are all achievements that I will look back on with pride, it’s been an incredible experience, I’ve truly loved every minute of my time at LA Galaxy.
However, I believe that now is the right time for a new challenge as I look towards the next chapter of my playing career. I still feel as fit and sharp as ever and I am looking forward to my next adventure. Having now retired from international football I am ready to focus everything I have on one last major challenge in club football and will be taking time out to consider my options before announcing my next move.
I would like to thank everyone at the Galaxy including the board, manager and all of my teammates for their incredible support during my time in LA. Finally, I would like to thank the most important people at the club: the fans. Thank you for welcoming me as one of your own and for helping to make LA such a special place for both me and my family.
The city has become my second home and I will never forget the unbelievable backing you’ve given me during my time at the Galaxy. The great times we have shared will stay with me forever. I look forward to watching the club continue to grow and progress in the coming years. It’s been an honour to captain your team and I am so proud of everything we have achieved together. Thank you for everything.
Keane is adamant that he still can play in 2017. And perhaps he’ll find another MLS team or another team worldwide that will pay him the money he thinks he deserves. But at 36 (he turns 37 in July of 2017) it wasn’t a gamble LA was willing to take. And who could blame them? They already cut ties with Steven Gerrard, a man who definitely saw his age catch up with him. And giving Keane anywhere near DP money wouldn’t be a very wise choice on an extremely valuable Designated Player spot.
So with Gerrard gone, Sarachan gone, and Robbie Keane gone, are the LA Galaxy done shedding fan favorites? I wouldn’t count on it.
What you can count on is that if Robbie Keane is able to pick up another contract somewhere else in Major League Soccer that he’ll find a way to make the LA Galaxy pay for it. And perhaps his body will be able to put up with 34 more games and a tough travel schedule in 2017. But regardless, He’ll be missed. He was in a lot of ways, the fire that this LA Galaxy team needed to win championships. And without him this last year, the Galaxy were woefully short on excitement, leadership, and offense.
You’ll be missed Robbie Keane, but just until the LA Galaxy erect a statue of you in front of the stadium. That way, StubHub Center, or whatever it morphs into, will never be without Robbie Keane’s influence.