Perk signs new deal with LA, no decision on Saunders yet
Goalkeeper Brian Perk's tenure with the LA Galaxy will continue after he agreed to terms with the club following his decision to pull out of Major League Soccer's Re-Entry process.
Perk's agent told MLSsoccer.com that a new deal has been reached and that the paperwork should be finalized by New Year's.
“I'm literally waiting on them to send me over a contract,” Mike Gartlan, a former professional netminder, said over the weekend from the NCAA College Cup in Alabama. “All terms have been agreed upon. ... They wanted to keep him, he wanted to stay. It was just about getting the numbers right.”
LA declined the option on Perk's contract, but the 23-year-old Southern Californian pulled his name from the Re-Entry list before Friday's Stage One draft. The new deal will trim his pay, Gartlan acknowledged, but gives Perk an opportunity to challenge for a starting role close to where he grew up (in south Orange County) and played collegiately (at UCLA).
“I think there's been a pretty good understanding with the Galaxy,” Perk said. “This being home for me, being here three years, I think this is the place I want to play. ... [This is] part of the business. It's unfortunate [to go through this]. As a player, all you really want to do is play soccer and win championships, like we've done. This is the place to do it. It would be unfortunate if numbers got in the way.”
Perk was acquired off waivers from Philadelphia in August 2010 and has made five MLS appearances for LA, four of them in 2012. He also started three CONCACAF Champions League games this year, posting two shutouts.
The opportunity to play, he said, is “always a consideration. That was always my No. 1 thing looking forward. You've got to find a spot you think you can grow. Even if you're sitting on the bench, if you think that down the line you can play, it's a tough spot to leave. I'm very content in LA.”
Bruce Arena was complimentary of his young netminder as well.
“He's gotten better every year,” the head coach said on Monday. “I think this was a good year for him. He did well.”
Perk, who was slowed early in the season by a sports-hernia injury that required surgery in May, said he went through a “really big growth period” in 2012, “made massive strides” in his development and would “feel very comfortable if my number were to be called” as the Galaxy's No. 1 'keeper. Arena last week indicated that a decision had not been made whether to bring back starter Josh Saunders, who is out of contract.
“[I've grown] on the mental side – really, decision-making, stuff along those lines,” Perk said, crediting Galaxy goalkeeper coach Ian Feuer with helping him through a “massive overhaul of my entire game.”
“Being a goalkeeper, that's basically everything,” he said. “You may have the tools to do the job, but it's just making the right decisions in the right situations that either makes you or breaks you.”