Chivas USA veteran Laurent Courtois eager to rejoin lineup despite competition
CARSON, Calif. – Laurent Courtois doesn’t know how much longer he’ll be able to play soccer, but he’s sure he wants to spend that time on the pitch rather than the sideline.
After starting the first two games this season, the Chivas USA midfielder missed a couple of training sessions due to a minor injury and hasn’t played a minute since. Head coach José Luis “El Chelís” Sánchez Solá has filled the left flank with Josue Soto and Jorge Villafaña, while Courtois has not cracked the 18-player game-day roster since March 10.
The 34-year-old Frenchman is out to change that, starting with Sunday's date with Colorado (10:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online).
“Obviously you want to be a part of the success, so it’s a bit disappointing,” Courtois told MLSsoccer.com. “I missed some training before the Galaxy game. Guys did very well and then we started winning. If another guy is doing well, you just have to cheer for them and wait for your moment.”
Villafaña, who was hindered by an ankle injury through the start of the season, has tallied an assist in each of the last two matches, while Soto has been credited with revitalizing the attack down the left side. Yet, following the victory against the Vancouver Whitecaps on March 30, Chelís noted Courtois would get his opportunities.
“It’s a new position for a lot of us,” Courtois said. “Soto and I are originally midfielders and the same goes for [Eric] Avila and Villafaña. We have to be play at left back and winger, which feels different, but you can find yourself in a good position in the counterattack. This is the position that I’m still waiting to get, but Jorge has been doing fantastic lately. And I hope it’s going to be my turn pretty soon.”
Courtois called the competition “special,” given how the candidates have pushed themselves.
“You rather have three good guys in the same position than only one, who will be tired at the end of the day,” Courtois said. “It’s a nice competition. The good thing about this group is that everybody is going in the same direction. Everybody is battling for a spot, but we’re all happy the group is moving forward. That’s our biggest strength.”
For Courtois, whose previous stints include Grenoble (France), Levante (Spain) and West Ham United (England), it’s all about maximizing the time he has left as a player.
“I’m just enjoying every day that I have this thing because what the 20-year-olds don’t know is that when you’re reaching the end, you know you’re going to miss it so bad,” he said. “I don’t even want to talk about it, so now I’m just enjoying myself every session.”