Landon Donovan will return to broadcasting and coaching after announcing this past week that he will retire from playing after a short stint that saw the LA Galaxy great score one goal in six appearances and two starts in 2016. It was a folly from USA Men’s National Team manager Bruce Arena that was quickly foiled by the competition proving to be a big better than the Galaxy, the Colorado Rapids and Seattle Sounders being prime examples of this. Donovan joins a number of players who will have stepped away from the Galaxy first team alongside Robbie Keane and Steven Gerrard, signaling the end of an era in the City of Angels.
Meanwhile, as LAFC break ground on their new ground and team up with Orange County Blues, there has been talk that Curt Onalfo, the current LA Galaxy II manager, has been tipped to succeed Arena as manager of the first team, according to a report from SI.com’s Grant Wahl. A.J. DeLaGarza and Jack McBean are expected to be on the club’s list for the 2017 campaign, according to a report from the LA Times’ Kevin Baxter.
Meanwhile, Phil Anschutz, the head of the Anschutz Entertainment Group, is feeling the sting of his wallet. Through AEG, he is expecting LA to be more profitable in their approach. Now, at the LA Galaxy, big washed-up names will be turned away in favor of rising young stars and homegrown talent from its Academy, Los Dos and elsewhere. At the same time, Giovani Dos Santos will now have a bigger role as the main draw of the team going forward.
But in order to do this right and stay ahead of the curve, the Galaxy has promoted Peter Vagenas, another Galaxy legend from the past, to steer the ship as the new general manager. Vagenas, who spent nine seasons with the Galaxy, was Vice President of Soccer Operations and will resume his role in that position.
“Being from Los Angeles and having invested much of my career into the growth of the LA Galaxy, I am extremely proud to continue with this great club,” Vagenas said. “I feel that my experiences within this organization will allow me to succeed in this role as the LA Galaxy continue to grow as a premier soccer club in North America. I look forward to working with both our front office and coaching staff as we push to win championships while further aligning all of our operations within the LA Galaxy, LA Galaxy II and the LA Galaxy Academy.”
“We believe deeply in the foundation that we’re setting with our academy,” club president Chris Klein said. “We think we’re just starting to see the fruits of that. With (USL side) Galaxy II, we’ve had success pushing players forward. That will continue.
“That is Pete’s job, to align us from the first team through our academy and make that system work. It will be a combination of that and our foundation in that, but it also hasn’t changed. We know players like Giovani Dos Santos, Robbie Keane and David Beckham have become a hallmark of this club. So we have the resources, the backing to continue aggressively in this manner.”
Changes are coming to the Los Angeles Galaxy, and they are coming hard and fast. The move to be a club that develops rising stars amid a galaxy of stars in the great city of LA, brings the club closer to its team moniker. The fortunes of the Galaxy’s emphasis on youth with upswing and budding names will hinge on Vagenas’s decision making in regards to finding the pieces to make it pop.