Galaxy alumni relish chance to play
CARSON, Calif. - The Los Angeles Galaxy has proclaimed its 10th season a Galaxy of Stars. Saturday, the club brought back some key players from days gone by to kick the ball around The Home Depot Center field in the club's first Galaxy Alumni game, played before the Galaxy-FC Dallas match.
"This kind of thing is not only for Galaxy but for every team in the league," said Mauricio Cienfuegos, the club's all-time assist leader. "They need to start doing that and recognize the old players. That's how they do from Mexico to Argentina to Europe. They bring the old players (back) and keep the tradition (going)."
Some of the club's brightest stars, such as Cienfuegos, Paul Caligiuri and Alexi Lalas, made their appearance as well as other players such as Dan Calichman, Danny Pena, Ivan Polic and Harut Karapetyan.
Also playing in the match were German national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann, a former technical advisor with the Galaxy, and former goalkeeper coach Zak Abdel.
"It's a pleasure," Klinsmann said. "Anytime I have the chance to come up and see the people here, I really enjoy that even if I never played for the Galaxy."
Klinsmann scored two goals as his squad, Team White, beat Team Green 5-2.
Earlier in the day, Klinsmann had arrived to California from Frankfurt, where he had been tending to his duties as national team coach. Klinsmann had learned of the match last week when he watched the Galaxy-Chivas USA match.
Andreas Herzog, who played last season with the Galaxy, is staying with Klinsmann's family and urged the former World Cup champion to play in the match.
"Andy said, 'The guys are asking if you want to play in the game as well.'" Klinsmann said. "I said, 'We're going to the game anyway. I better bring my shoes along.'"
Klinsmann spent time as technical advisor under then-coach Sigi Schmid but his relationship with the Galaxy started in 1998.
"I came over with the family in '98 and every since '98 I've been somehow part of the Galaxy organization. First I was at the Rose Bowl. Then came The Home Depot Center and then working with Doug and Sigi last season. It's been a pleasure, really," he said.
Herzog said he enjoyed making a return visit to The Home Depot Center.
"The stadium, the atmosphere was something I enjoyed very much even if it was only one year," the former Austrian international said.
Still, even though players said it was fun to have most of the old gang back together, the absence of several players was felt.
Not at the match were former goalkeeper Jorge Campos, now an assistant coach with the Mexican national team and former strikers Carlos Hermosillo, Eduardo Hurtado and Luis Hernandez.
"The plan was to bring everybody together," Cienfuegos said. "I'm so sad because players like Hurtado, Hermosillo, Campos didn't come because they have a lot of (commitments)."
Luis Bueno is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.