CARSON, Calif. – By all accounts, Southern California is a fine place to be a professional soccer player, and The Home Depot Center serves as a great office for such a profession.
The mission over the next 10 days for the LA Galaxy, however, is to turn their back on everything that is good about their professional lives.
On Monday, the Galaxy begin a 10-day preseason training stint in Scottsdale, Ariz.
“To be away from LA is good," Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said.
The Galaxy have been in the process of building the team on the field, working on tactics and match fitness since camp opened last month. Now, however, the other part of the team building process will carry on in the Grand Canyon State.
“To be away for a couple of weeks and get the guys a little bit more concentrated and to get to know each other a little bit better,” Arena said. “That happens when you go away as a group. That will help build team spirit as well.”
Missing from the trip, however, is one of the Galaxy’s key players. David Beckham has spent this year training with Premier League side Tottenham.
Despite Beckham's absence, the Galaxy head coach said the team is better off than in years past.
“Last year at the start of camp we didn’t have Beckham and we didn’t have (Landon) Donovan,” Arena said. “We’re a little bit better having Donovan around and we’re going to be getting David back in a couple of weeks, so that’s a plus.”
The Galaxy will play three friendlies while in Arizona: against Colorado on Feb. 16 and Vancouver on Feb. 20 and 22. Before departing The Home Depot Center, the Galaxy played Portland and San Jose in their first preseason games of the year.
While there are quite a few things the Galaxy has to work on, it’s not exactly unexpected.
“We’re still not obviously near where we want to be in terms of match fitness but it’s getting a little bit better every day,” Arena said. “We want to get a little bit sharper of the ball. We want to have a better tactical understanding of some of the things we want to do but that’ll come. That’s why it’s called preseason.”