All-Star: Kennedy's road less traveled to first ASG team
CARSON, Calif. — Dan Kennedy was Chivas USA’s only representative of the 18 players selected to the 2012 MLS All-Star Team and, although quite deserving of the nod, he is quick to note that his success has been a long time coming.
In what is perhaps his best season as a professional, Kennedy made his first All-Star Team and could face Chelsea FC when the All-Stars play host to the reigning UEFA Champions League winners on July 25 at PPL Park. Kennedy has allowed just 18 goals in 17 games and among goalies with at least 10 starts, he has the league's third best goals-against average at 1.06 per game.
Aside from his statistical accomplishments, though, it has been his penchant for making a big save that has kept Chivas afloat in the Western Conference table. How he got to this point, however, is just as important.
Kennedy has a rather unique career path. Selected in the fourth round of the 2005 Supplemental Draft out of UC Santa Barbara, Kennedy opted instead to play outside of the United States. First, he spent time with the Puerto Rico Islanders and then joined up with Chilean side Municipal Iquique and played there for two years before returning stateside and latching onto Chivas USA.
WATCH: Kennedy comes up big
“I try to do everything within my control to be ready for that time to succeed and preparation has just become more important and more a part of my everyday life," said Kennedy. "It’s much more of a full-time job than it’s ever been.”
Even though Brad Guzan was transferred to Aston Villa during Kennedy’s first full season with Chivas, he only played in nine games that season. A knee injury robbed him of his 2009 season and it was not until 2011 when Kennedy broke through, playing in 32 games and helping the Goats become competitive in the Western Conference.
Having gone through his share of challenges both abroad and with Chivas, Kennedy has done his best to make the most of it.
“It probably made me a much better professional,” Kennedy said.
He has already reaped his fair share of rewards for having such a mindset and now he’s got something else to file away for possible future scrapbooking.
“Hopefully [the All-Star Game] is something that I gain experience on and it will just help me,” Kennedy added. “It’s more of the honor of being there than anything else, being recognized by the league is just a very nice pat on the back.”
Yet despite his success so far this season, Kennedy is humble enough to recognize he has had his fair share of help along the way.
“Goalkeepers are so dependent on their team and I really feel like our defense has been something special for us this season,” he added. I definitely owe the defense maybe dinner or something.”
Luis Bueno covers Chivas USA for MLSsoccer.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.