CARSON, Calif. – An offseason filled with uncertainty and change for Chivas USA ended on Friday when the team took the field for their first training session of 2013.
But even as preparations for this year's campaign get underway, things are still far from certain for many Goats personnel.
With rumors still rampant about players coming and going, the speculation on how fluid the roster will continue to be remains strong. Earlier in the week, for instance, assistant coach Carlos Llamosa was fired as part of the restructuring process, a team spokesman confirmed.
Have such goings-on affected the returning players in any way?
“As a player, you’re just supposed to come in and compete and do your job and that’s what I focus on,” goalkeeper Dan Kennedy said. “For me the most important thing is the guys who are. I don’t want to be distracted by any of that other stuff.”
In November, owner Jorge Vergara laid down a mandate that the club return to its roots and have a stronger connection with Chivas de Guadalajara. That brought sweeping changes within the coaching staff as José Luis “Chelís” Sanchéz Solá was hired as coach. Players from Guadalajara have been brought up, including Edgar “Chore” Mejía and Mario de Luna, who participated in Friday’s training session.
With a move towards a more Mexican and Latino club, where does that leave Chivas USA’s players who do not fall into those categories?
“In the end, that’s not up to me,” defender Rawshaun McKenzie said. “As a player, I have to come in and do my job. Whether they want to bring in Latinos or non-Latinos, to be honest, I really don’t care as long as they are guys who are going to work hard for their teammates and to make this club a better club.”
Several of the players said they had not spoken with Chelís personally; assistant coaches ran the first training session as Chelís had been in Indianapolis for the MLS SuperDraft. Perhaps when players meet their new coach things will change, but until then the players have had to deal with rumors about their future as best as they can.
“All that stuff, when you’re a player, is pretty much out of your control,” Kennedy said. “My focus has always been that I’m preparing for the preseason and I’m prepared to be a Chivas USA player, and until someone tells me I’m not, then I’m giving everything I have to this club. I’ve been here a long time and I put a lot of pride into it, a lot of work into it and I want to turn this thing around."