Romain Alessandrini - in action for Olympique Marseille

CARSON, Calif. – Romain Alessandrini began his MLS preseason this week, and with only two weeks to prepare for the LA Galaxy’s season opener, it’s been a whirlwind of adjustments.

Things like training and preparing for the long season have to be balanced with basic human needs like figuring out a new sleep schedule.

“It doesn’t happen overnight,” said Galaxy head coach Curt Onalfo. “Not only do you have to adjust to the long travel, but you have to adjust to the time change. He hasn’t been here very long, so it’s going to take him a little time to adapt to just sleeping properly and getting a place to live and all that kind of stuff.”

While he figures out a place to live, he also has to figure out where he fits in with his new teammates. He participated in a Galaxy preseason game vs. Real Salt Lake earlier this week and will do so again vs. the Portland Timbers Saturday, as he tries to get fully match fit with the season fast approaching.

While not a player on the level of name recognition in California as his fellow LA Designated PlayerGiovani dos Santos, the two attacking players have more in common with their career arcs than some might realize. In what may be an adjustment to wider changes across MLS, the Galaxy are now using DP slots on players in their mid-20s who see an opportunity in MLS for a fresh start.

“It was a great opportunity to come here,” said Alessandrini. “I’ve followed this club for two, three years. I think it’s a good idea to come here for me. I was 27 years and in France at my club it was a little bit difficult.

“I need to change my life, change my mind. For me, LA it’s a great opportunity and I hope to be one of the best in this [league].”

Alessandrini played in Marseille’s youth system for six years, and then three years as a senior squad player with a handful of clubs in between. He calls the French powerhouse the best club he’s played for. However, he decided to take his career in a different direction as he only got three starts for OM during their current season.

He’s made the choice to play outside of France for the first time in his career giving the Galaxy a chance to take advantage of his talents. With Alessandrini taking on the No. 7 jersey recently vacated by Robbie Keane, the expectations are fairly clear.

“He’s a very good wide attacking player,” said Onalfo. “He can play on the left, he can play on the right. He can actually potentially play in Gio’s position when he’s gone with [Mexican] national team duties.

“He’s a multi-faceted, very good attacking player. He can playmake, he can create goals for his teammates, and he can score goals himself.”

With not much time before the season starts, Alessandrini is balancing fitness priorities with simpler things – like learning the names of his teammates.

“I don’t know my teammates,” said Alessandrini. “Just Jelle [van Damme] and Giovani dos Santos. I need to [learn] every day the players, I need to come back step-by-step. Everyday I’m concentrating on learning every player [on the team].”