CARSON, Calif. – During a time when Chivas USA have sought wholesale change, they assured that at least one piece will stick around for a while.
The club announced on Thursday that it has signed goalkeeper Dan Kennedy to a contract through the 2016 season, doing so with a brief press conference at the Home Depot Center attended by club president José David and director of soccer Francisco Palencia.
“I said before that we have this new era and, with all of this change this offseason, there would still be great opportunity here,” Kennedy told reporters. “I truly believe that. I’m excited to be a part of that.”
The 30-year-old captain has made 32 starts in each of the previous two seasons, and was named to his first MLS All-Star team and finished second in the league in saves last year.
“We have a long way to go, but I do feel that with all the changes that have been made we’re taking steps in the right direction,” Kennedy said. “Through my time here and in the future, I’m going to give it all I have to continue going in that direction and become champions on the field and off the field.”
Through eight games this season, Kennedy leads MLS with 36 saves and has faced a league-high 49 shots.
“He’s our captain and our symbol at this moment, so we’re very happy to extend this contract,” Palencia added. “We know how important he is in the locker room. What we want is for him to be a permanent part of this team. For us to be here in front of net and announce this news is a happy moment for the club.”
Manager José Luis “El Chelís” Sánchez Solá pegged Kennedy his captain early in the preseason, telling MLSsoccer.com, “I need him more than anyone else.” The Yorba Linda, Calif., native missed the 2009 season with a knee injury, but has been an important piece ever since.
“This helps protect the new era of Chivas USA,” David said.
Though possible, Kennedy downplayed a future move elsewhere while he’s under contract with Chivas USA.
“With this contract situation, if anything, I have peace of mind of being here at Chivas USA,” Kennedy said. “I don’t feel like I don’t have to make any rash decisions on making a move. Now my future is very much here and I’m very happy with that. That’s why I signed the contract.”