Tag Archives: Debbie Haar

L.A. Galaxy’s ‘Mate Behind the Muscles’

LA Galaxy Contributor

By Debbie Haar // @GalaxySoccerMom

There’s a large number of people in the background working to help the L.A. Galaxy be the best team in the league. Those people have jobs ranging from dietitians to equipment managers to technical director. I had the opportunity to get a peek into the career of the Galaxy’s Australian Ace-up-the-sleeve, Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Adam “Adds” Waterson.

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Debbie Haar: Tell me about your career with the NSW (New South Wales) Police Force.

Adam Waterson: I started as a strength and conditioning coach with Sydney Football Club in the A-League in 2005. I then worked with various football teams in Australia before opting for a break from football and took up a great role as lead S&C coach for the NSW Police Force. I was there for approximately 2 years before I returned to football and a role with LA Galaxy.

DH: What’s your favorite part of your job?

AW: I really enjoy coaching the players and helping them develop their physical capabilities to perform at the highest level they possibly can. Seeing all their hard work on the training pitch and gym pay off with good performances in the games is really rewarding.

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DH: How long have you been in LA? What’s the best part of living in LA?

AW: Coming on 2 years in LA. The weather is great, South Bay is great, the amount of sports on TV is brilliant.

DH: Does everyone comment on your accent?

AW: Yes, some enjoy it and request me to repeat myself where others take the piss out of it (translation: To mock or make fun of). I like the banter.

DH: Which player can mimic your accent the best?

AW: They are all terrible. Dave Romney tries hard though. Matt Lampson has a terrific South African impersonation.

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DH: There are players from many different countries who speak many different languages. How do you work through language barriers?

AW: The great thing is most speak very good English, those that don’t I try some very basic Spanglish or get one of the boys to translate. Generally, football has its own language through movements, so it’s not too bad.

DH: Do you do all the drills with the players?

AW: I coach a lot of the drills at the start of the training session, then in rehab/gym sessions I tend to observe and correct form and communicate with the players during the drills rather than join myself.

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Photos courtesy of Adam Waterson

DH: Do you give the players pep talks?

AW: Ha ha, sometimes the players do require a little pep talk which I’m happy to do, but most of them are pretty self-motivated to train hard when we do.

DH: Tell me something interesting that happens during daily training sessions that might surprise people.

AW: Every session every player is monitored through GPS and heart rate so we can track their physical output each day.

DH: Do you travel with the team?

AW: Yes, I travel to every away game.

DH: When you are traveling what’s one thing you don’t leave home without?

AW: My pillow, hotel pillows are always too soft!

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DH: Is there a specific drill the players hate to do more than others?

AW: Any isolated running drill in season is frowned upon but they know it’s required.

DH: What the hardest part of your job?

AW: The hardest part is the time away from home due to the regular travel and congested schedule. We work most weekends and public holidays so you tend to miss out on a lot of parties, weddings, etc.

DH: What’s a phrase you say a lot at work?

AW: Grab some water, have a stretch, weight of pass, timing of run, more intensity boys lets go. They take the piss out of my accent on most.

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DH: What’s one of your stand out memories with the team?

AW: The 4-3 come from behind win against LAFC the first time we played them. It was Zlatan’s first game and he scored a golazo.

DH: Do you have a pet?

AW: No, I can’t wait for the day I live in a house with a yard so I can buy a German Shepherd.

DH: What is your guilty pleasure?

AW: Probably too many slices of pizza after games is my biggest one right now.

DH: What’s your favorite thing to eat and drink?

AW: Butter chicken and when I’m out I enjoy a bourbon and soda water.

DH: Last and most important question? Does pineapple belong on pizza?

AW: Yes, it has a place I believe.

Waterson played an integral part of helping the Western Sydney Wanderers win the 2014 AFC Champions League. With his knowledge and expertise on board, the L.A. Galaxy has the foundation needed to go after their next MLS Cup. Next time you are watching a game keep in mind the people behind the scenes like Adam Waterson who spend their days making the Galaxy players the best they can be.

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Clasico Calamity For LA Galaxy

LA Galaxy Contributor

By Debbie Haar // @GalaxySoccerMom

The LA Galaxy took on the San Jose Earthquakes in front of 50,850 at Stanford Stadium in the first of this season’s California Clásico  games on Saturday, June 29. The Clásico is notorious for last-minute action and this game was no different.

The Galaxy was missing five key players, leaving the team on the back foot before the game even began. Romain Alessandrini is still out recovering from his April meniscus root surgery. Uriel Antuna, Jonathan dos Santos, Rolf Feltscher and Giancarlo Gonzalez were all unavailable due to being called up to their national teams so the Galaxy with few options on the bench.

LA struggled to find their rhythm from the very beginning of the game. Eleven minutes in, San Jose dealt their first blow when Vako sent in a ball from outside of the box that was just too fast for David Bingham to react to. Vako has been hot recently, scoring 6 goals in the last 4 games.

In the 38th minute Zlatan Ibrahimovic passed the ball to Dave Romney for a failed shot on goal. Ibrahimovic appeared slow and uninterested on the field and was not effective on either end which contributed to the chaos and inability for the Galaxy to make anything happen.

Throughout the game the Galaxy’s midfield was overrun and outplayed, spotlighting just how much Jonathon Dos Santos was missed. Efrain Alvarez came in for an injured Sebastian Lletget at halftime, but the midfield chaos continued for the Galaxy.

It’s tradition to wait until the end of the game for all the excitement to surface in a California Clásico and this one did not disappoint. In the 82nd minute, Shea Salinas doubled San Jose’s lead with a shot from the right side of the box that made it into the bottom left corner of the goal.

Just three minutes later the Earthquakes struck again when Salinas set up Tommy Thompson for a shot that deflected off of Perry Kitchen resulting in a goal. Although David Bingham made five saves during the course of the game, it just wasn’t enough.

This win was not only important for the Quakes due to the satisfaction of beating an interstate rival; this win also helps them continue to advance up the Western Conference table after finding themselves in a playoff position earlier this week.

Next up for the L.A. Galaxy is an Independence Day home game against Toronto FC at 7:30 PST.

Featured image: Noel Danseco // IG @drive_x_strike

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The Dark Horse of Los Dos

LA Galaxy Contributor

By Debbie Haar // @GalaxySoccerMom

In a tiny authentic Mexican restaurant in Hermosa Beach I sat down with Abraham Romero, goalkeeper for L.A. Galaxy II, and talked over enchiladas and french toast. He engaged in polite conversation in Spanish with the restaurant staff and rerouted the conversation when our server asked if he was a professional athlete. Romero, who is 6’2″,  has been described by Galaxy General Manager Dennis te Kloese as “a hard-working kid that has a big presence and is very fast for a big guy”. I sat down to find out more about who Romero is.

Debbie Haar: Off the soccer field, what is something you are really good at?

Abraham Romero: I’m a decent bowler, I can play ping pong but I’m bad at pool.

DH: What were you like as a child?

AR: I was a fat baby!! (laughs) I was 10 pounds when I was born. I was a cry baby when I was little but I was raised in a very loving household.

DH: When you are traveling, what is something you can’t live without?

AR: My phone charger and I have this little teddy bear dressed in a bomber jacket and goggles I got in France. I don’t know why but he’s my sidekick.

DH: Does pineapple belong on pizza?

AR: oh no! (shakes head)

DH: Tell me something else food related you don’t like.

AR: butter!

DH: Do you play video games?

AR: no, don’t play them. I don’t enjoy them. I like reading?

DH: What’s your favorite book?

AR: I like Brida. I have a quote from that book tattooed on my ribs.

DH: So what is a typical Saturday night for you? What are you doing after this interview?

AR: I might meet up with some friends or stay home and drink some tea. Just depends.

DH: Do you have any pets?

AR: (smiles big) I have two pit bulls, Bubba is a big blue nose and Hope is brown. He tells on her when she is doing something bad. He barks at her.

DH: Tell me something most people don’t know about you.

AR: I take a nap every day.

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DH: What would you say is your spirit animal?

AR: I’d say a king penguin, awkward and elegant. Or the turtle in Finding Nemo! Fin! Noggin!

DH: What is the best advice you’ve received during your soccer career?

AR: I remember Marco Garces, the Director at Pachuca, telling me that I am not as good as I think I am, I need to just work to get better.

DH: What are your bad habits?

AR: (laughs) I do not pick up my clothes. I just drop them where ever.

DH: Who picks them up?

AR: My Mom, I live at home with my family.

DH: What household chore do you hate the most?

AR: I will mop floors, take out the trash, wash clothes but I HATE doing the dishes.

DH: What is something your mom cooks that you love?

AR: She makes this pasta with tomato sauce…

DH: Is it like spaghetti?

AR: Ya, it’s a lot like spaghetti. Chili Relleno or she makes this squash with meat and cheese that’s really good.

DH: Has there been a person who has mentored you, really invested in you?

AR: My Dad first and foremost. Other than him is my goalkeeper coach Ruben Messina. I started training with him when I was 8 and I still train with him now. He built me. The first time I trained with him was terrible! I didn’t want to go back, (laughs) but he has made me an overall decent goalkeeper in all areas.

DH: What’s one of your goals in life that’s not soccer related?

AR: Write a book, a romance.

DH: What’s your favorite movie?

AR: The Godfather. I wear a ring with a Godfather quote, “You can do anything. But never go against the family.”

Bill Reno of Everybody Soccer had this to say about Romero when asked who he sees as the young front-runner who could supplant the old guard.

Some dark horse candidates could be Abraham Romero, who is a very good Mexican-American goalkeeper”

If you get a chance to watch Romero play you’ll see a promising young talent with a passion and determination for the game. What you may not notice is his wisdom beyond his years and his kind soul.

Featured image: Etzel Espinosa

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A Kneecap and a Recap

LA Galaxy Key Contributor

By Debbie Haar // @GalaxySoccerMom

Ok, so it’s not exactly a kneecap, but it’s close. Romain Alessandrini had surgery at Cedars-Sinai this week to repair his torn meniscus root in his left knee.

Doctors have described this type of injury as devastating, painful, and a cause of rapid joint deterioration. It is estimated the handsome 30-year-old Frenchman will be out until at least September.

This is a huge hit to the LA Galaxy as Alessandrini is a vital asset to the team’s offense. In Wednesday’s game, Emmanuel Boatang started in Alessandrini’s normal position. I hope he’s ready to continue filling the position.

The LA Galaxy took on the Minnesota Loons ending in a 0-0 draw.

Starting XI: David Bingham, Jorgen Skjelvik, Diego Polenta, Daniel Steres, Julian Araujo (Gian Carlo Gonzalez 79′), Joe Corona, Jonathan dos Santos, Uriel Antuna (Servando Carrasco 82′), Sebastian Lletget, Emmanuel Boatang (Chris Pontius 64′), Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Out with injury:

Romain Alessandrini- knee injury

Perry Kitchen- foot injury

Rolf Feltscher- groin injury

The LA Galaxy tried hard in a midweek game against Minnesota United FC to bring home three points but both teams were unsuccessful at obtaining a win.

The beginning of the game looked hopeful for the Galaxy but resulted in both teams inability to maintain possession and score. Julian Araujo served the ball to Zlatan in the first half but he was unable to get the header into the goal.

The first half of the game was an ongoing back and forth to both sides of the field without a completed goal-scoring play. The Galaxy was disjointed, which could be somewhat attributed to the conditions of Minnesota’s new field.

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Photo: MLSsoccer.com

Although the Galaxy couldn’t seem to score, a few of the players had noticeably great games. Jonathan dos Santos was all over the field showing Minnesota’s players that he won’t back down.

Bingham had a great game and displayed how he’s grown as a goalie since joining the Galaxy. He was strong in the box stopping 4 goals.

Zlatan just wasn’t Zlatan. He fumbled a play and was seen apologizing after. Julian Araujo had a rough game as well, leaving the stadium on crutches. Before his injury, he was quick and played with confidence. Guillermo Barros Schelotto later said Araujo’s injury was not serious and he expected him to be back for Sunday’s game.

The LA Galaxy take on Real Salt Lake at home on Sunday, April 28.

Featured image: LA Galaxy

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LA Galaxy stay hot as they shut out Vancouver Whitecaps in 2-0 Win

LA Galaxy Contributor

By Debbie Haar // @GalaxySoccerMom

Starting XI: David Bingham; Rolf Feltscher, Daniel Steres, Dave Romney, Jorgen Skjelvik (Diedie Traore 88′), Jonathan dos Santos, Sebastian Lletget, Joe Corona, Uriel Antuna (Emmanuel Boateng 84′), Romain Alessandrini (Chris Pontius 82′) and Zlatan Ibrahimović

In front of a crowd of more than 22,000, the L.A. Galaxy won their fourth game of the season when they overpowered the Vancouver Whitecaps FC at BC Place. Zlatan made the decision not to play on turf last year due to a significant knee injury sustained in April 2017, but decided to take the risk this time and played the entire 90 minutes.

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JOB DONE ✅

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The first half of the game, both teams were out of sync and appeared to be unable to find their groove, struggling to keep possession of the ball and see it through to goal. In the second minute of the game, Jorgen Sjkelvic fouled Lass Bangoura in the box resulting in a disastrous panenka attempt by newcomer Ali Adnan. David Bingham easily kept the failed shot out of the net while the players and fans looked around in disbelief.

Center back Diego Polenta was out with a strained abductor leaving the Galaxy’s backline struggling to effectively work together. However, Bingham was a force to be reckoned with in the goal with 5 saves.

The Galaxy came back from half time with a renewed energy and quickly took control of the game. Zlatan got the ball in the net but it was called back for off side. In the 62nd minute Zlatan provided an assist to Daniel Steres who headed the ball in for the first goal of the game. It was his second goal of the season. Zlatan then scored his fourth goal of the season off an assist by Rolf Feltscher, a ball he was able to torpedo past Whitecaps keeper Maxime Crepeau.

Up next for the Galaxy is a home game against Philadelphia Union on Saturday, April 13 at 7:30 PM PST.

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Hellos and Goodbyes- Galaxy Makes Last Minute Roster Adjustments

LA Galaxy Key Contributor

By Debbie Haar // @GalaxySoccerMom

Gio

Photo Credit MLSSoccer.com

After much anticipation and concern regarding the Galaxy’s seeming non-compliance with the MLS 3 designated player policy, the L.A. Galaxy announced Friday afternoon that Giovanni Dos Santos would be leaving the club.

The 29-year-old forward, joined the Galaxy on a transfer from Spanish club Villareal midway through the 2015 season with big goals and a lot of hype. According to MLSsoccer.com, Dos Santos performed well in the first year and a half of his Galaxy career with 17 goals and 17 assists. His playing time and success on the field began to fade with a mere 3 goals and 2 assists in the 2018 season.

After ongoing injuries and muscular issues, Gio was off the field for the entirety of the Galaxy’s 2019 preseason. Gio’s lack of presence and continual injuries were not the Galaxy’s only problem as they still had 4 designated players while the league allows only 3.

The other 3 DP’s on the Galaxy’s roster are French midfielder Romain Alessandrini, Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Mexican midfielder Jonathan dos Santos, Gio’s younger brother. Gio dos Santos’ contract guaranteed him $6 million in 2018, the 5thhighest salary in MLS soccer.

Ola

Photo credit L.A. Galaxy

On Wednesday the Galaxy announced the transfer of 29-year-old Norwegian forward Ola Kamara to Shenzhen F.C. of the Chinese Super League. Kamara spent 4 years in MLS, first with Columbus Crew and one season with the Galaxy. In his lone season with the club, he played 31 matches and had 14 goals and 2 assists. The Athletic’s Kristian Dyer was first to break the details of his 3-year, $3 million a year contract with a hefty $3.5 million transfer fee.

L.A. Galaxy General Manager Dennis te Kloese was quoted as saying “This decision will be mutually beneficial to both our club and Ola. Ola wanted to pursue opportunities elsewhere, and we worked to complete a move that will give us options to strengthen our roster moving forward. We thank Ola for what he has contributed to this club and wish him the best in his future.”

Emil-Cuello

Photo Credit: L.A. Galaxy

The Galaxy may have lost two players this week but they were excited to announce two very promising additions. Midfielder Emil Cuello, 22, was picked up by the Galaxy with the 19thoverall pick in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft. Cuello, an Orem, Utah native played midfield for Southern Methodist University the last four years winning a slew of awards and accommodations.

Te Kloese said “He has played well during our preseason, showing his ability and technicality. We look forward to Emil officially joining our roster and his contributions during the upcoming season.” During the preseason games, the fans were buzzing after seeing first hand what Cuello has to offer the team.

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Photo credit: L.A. Galaxy

The Galaxy Friday announced the signing of 17-year-old defender Julian Araujo after much talk about the teams need for defenders. Araujo, from Lompoc, was a part of the L.A. Galaxy Boy’s Academy and has also spent time with the U.S. Soccer Youth National Teams.

Te Kloese stated, “Julian is one of the best young defenders in Southern California and we thrilled he has chosen to begin his professional career with the L.A. Galaxy.”

In order to secure Araujo, the Galaxy, in a prior transaction, traded $50,000 in TAM to the Colorado Rapids in exchange for the number 1 spot in the Waiver Order. The Galaxy was then able to select Araujo off those waivers.

With all the last minute changes to the Galaxy’s roster this week, the fans are curious to see how all this change will materialize on the field. The L.A. Galaxy 2019 home opener is Saturday, March 2, at 5pm against the Chicago Fire at the Dignity Health Sports Park.

Featured image: @LAGalaxy

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Galaxy Fall Short in Final Preseason Tune-Up​

LA Galaxy Contributor

By Debbie Haar // @GalaxySoccerMom

Starting XI: David Bingham; Rolf Feltscher, Daniel Steres, Diego Polenta, Jorgen Skjelvik; Romain Alessandrini, Servando Carrasco, Emil Cuello, Uriel Antuna; Ola Kamara, Zlatan Ibrahimovic. 

Missing four players for their last preseason game, the L.A.Galaxy was unable to keep up with the Colorado Rapids, losing the match 3-1. During the first half of the game, the Rapids had possession of the ball the majority of the time while the Galaxy just couldn’t seem to move the ball forward enough to look dangerous in the final third.

In the 13th minute, goalkeeper David Bingham took a ball to the face from Rapids midfielder Kellyn Acosta. Bingham was down for a few minutes while the concussion protocol was initiated by medical staff. He was able to leave the field of his own volition leaving Matt Lampson to defend the goal for the remainder of the game.

With Jonathan dos Santos out as a precaution, Sebastian Lletget out with a right hamstring injury, Perry Kitchen recovering from a right ankle injury and Juninho dealing with a knee injury, the Galaxy was spread thin leaving the midfield duties to Servando Carrasco and Emil Cuello, who just couldn’t keep up with Colorado’s constant press. Giovani dos Santos is still out with an unceasing muscle injury.

The Galaxy was unable to fend off the much improved Rapids offense, allowing them 20 shots at the goal throughout the game in comparison to the Galaxy’s 10. In the 42nd minute, Dillion Serna delivered a cross that striker Kei Kamara headed in for the first goal of the game. Diego Rubio scored the Rapids’ second with a lofted ball past Lampson in the 69th minute.

Uriel Antuna, on loan from Manchester City, showed up once again with speed and impressive footwork serving up a cross that Zlatan headed into the net in the 77th minute for the Galaxy’s first goal.

The Galaxy defense just couldn’t hold off the Rapids and Daniel Steres gave the ball away to Diego Rubio in the 85thminute resulting in a third goal. The final score was 3-1.

Watching this game felt reminiscent of last season and the Galaxy’s struggle to effectively defend the goal. One thing that is different this year is it was reported that head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto required some gym time from the players after the game.

The L.A. Galaxy 2019 season opener is a home game this Saturday, March 2, at 5pm against the Chicago Fire.

Featured image: @LAGalaxy

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Coffee​ with Tomas Hilliard-Arce of the LA Galaxy

LA Galaxy Key Contributor

By Debbie Haar // @GalaxySoccerMom

Watching Tomas Hilliard-Arce walk into an L.A. Starbucks, you’d think he was any average 20 something college student grabbing a cup of coffee before class. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. The 23-year-old center back, a twice PAC-12 defensive player of the year, lead his team at Stanford to three consecutive NCAA National Championships. He was then picked up by the L.A. Galaxy as the second pick of the first round in 2018 MLS SuperDraft.

Debbie Haar: Are you ready to do this?

Tomas Hilliard-Arce: Let’s do it.

DH: The day after you were picked up by the Galaxy in the SuperDraft, what was going through your mind?

THA: I was scared. It was overwhelming. I’m confident in myself, but I just went from somewhere where I knew how to control the situation in college to where I’m at the bottom of the totem pole. There were a lot of stars on the team who probably wouldn’t respect someone coming right out of college, so I had everything to prove. I was fortunate to come into a situation where I had 30 automatic friends and a club that cares about me.

DH: Do you have any pregame rituals?

THA: The team manager would give me smelling salts, then I would just hit him as hard as I could, like a chest bump or I’d smack myself in the head and get myself completely fired up. Makes me feel like if someone else were to hit me, I’m ready for it.

DH: What is your family like?

THA: We are very competitive. My Dad has set a very high standard so I’ve always feared failure.

DH: Did you fight with your sisters growing up?

THA: I started soccer late, like 11-12. My older sister and I were in karate growing up and she used to physically dominate me.

DH: Was there that pivotal moment when the tides turned?

THA: She just channeled her dominance into being emotionally abusive. (laughs)

DH: Are you a dog or a cat person?

THA: I really wanted a dog. My Dad said I had to train myself to be responsible, so I had to get a fish and keep it alive for 6 months first. (laughing) We used to leave and go on road trips and there was no one to feed it. I would just dump an unbelievable amount of food in there. It didn’t even make it 3 months.

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       Tomas Hilliard Ace playing for Stanford during the 2017 College Cup. Image: Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports

DH: I’ve seen you talk about faith, do you think your faith impacts you on the soccer field?

THA: My big moment of finding faith was on the field, so I feel like that is the place where it comes out the most. I’ve been able to play for those in my family who have passed away or gotten sick and I get a lot of strength from them. This year I was looking for something to really play for and put my heart on the field for. My 44-year-old cousin who lives in Costa Rica, who is just an amazing person, recently died unexpectedly a couple days after our vacation there ended. I was with her the day before we left, and being a pro soccer player here in the USA might not mean anything, but there it’s everything. My mom called me the day after the funeral and said I was my cousin’s hero, so I need to play for her this season. I have so many people supporting me, the least I can do is give them my all.

DH: What household chore do you hate to do?

THA: My mom is Latina and my Dad is American. My mom is a stay at home mom and loved to baby us kids. I was the only son, so she super babied me. Now that I live alone, I am really, really bad at laundry. It costs $3 in quarters and I feel bad going to the cashiers and asking for all their quarters. Plus, it always comes out wrinkly.

DH: Do you play video games?

THA: I am a video game guy! Right now I’m all Fortnite. A lot of my friends are professional soccer players so we get home at 1pm. What are you going to do all day?

DH: I see other players on the Galaxy playing [Fortnite], like David Bingham.

THA: I play [Fortnite] with him, he’s a fun guy to play with. He’s super competitive on the field and at video games.

DH: Do you have a favorite TV show?

THA: I’m pretty religious about The Bachelor.

DH: Do you have a favorite movie?

THA: I’m a big RomCom guy. I’m supposed to be a big tough center back so I can’t say The Notebook, but it’s such a good movie. I’m a big Rachel McAdams fan. I’m a hopeless romantic.

DH: Toilet paper roll, over or under?

THA: I live in a little apartment with another guy who plays soccer and we have the most male apartment ever. We don’t have any essentials. We don’t have scissors or anything sharper than a butter knife. We don’t even have a toilet paper dispenser thing.

DH: Tell me something you are bad at?

THA: Cooking! I never cook. Most of the time when they give us lunch at the facilities I take a bunch of to-go boxes and eat it for dinner.

DH: Do they tease you about that?

THA: Oh for sure! They say learn how to cook or stop looking like a homeless dude when you’re leaving.

DH: Tell me about a time in your life when you were being tested or challenged.

THA: To make it to pro soccer you have to have been “the man” on the team you came from and to get here and be competing with 30 other men is challenging. I realized I was a college player and now a rookie, and pretty much the youngest out there. You can either get frustrated with it or create a lesson learned from it. I remember sometimes when I felt like I deserved something, and it wasn’t given to me, I was on the verge of anger or frustration or even tears because I felt helpless, I had done everything I could but I still wasn’t getting what I wanted. That’s part of being a professional, putting the last play behind you and moving on. This year when I face those things I’ll be prepared.

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Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

DH: What’s a phrase you say a lot?

THA: I say this in just the weirdest situations. I like to say “let the kids play!”. It started in college when the players who didn’t play much, on the days after games, would be so excited to play. Coming into last season when I wasn’t playing much, I always just wanted to get out there and play, and have fun, and show what I can do. So I’d say, “let the kids play.” Now I say it in any situation. If there’s a really good lunch buffet they’ve given us, “let the kids play!” (laughing) Doesn’t really make sense.

DH: Do you have huge goals you want to achieve?

THA: Actually I don’t with soccer. When I got recruited for soccer, Stanford wasn’t very good, they were ranked like 100th in the nation. I went to this prestigious private high school where people looked down on me for either my intelligence or my dedication to soccer. Then when I got into a very good school because of [soccer], I thought that was the end of it. I’ll go to Stanford, get a degree and a good job and show those people. Playing pro soccer is like the icing on the cake. My goal is to continue to prove people wrong. After my first year in pro soccer, I now have doubters. People have said I can’t do something, now I can prove to them that I can. I think I’ve always just wanted to be a really good dad. I want to push my kids to exhaustion. My kids have no choice, they have to play soccer.

DH: What if they are derpy and uncoordinated?

THA: I will force that out of them through exercise! (both laughing)

DH: You do well under pressure, clearly, you play professional soccer.

THA: My first game I started playing in front of 30,000 people was my best game ever because of the pressure. I like being the guy at the front of the sled and helping push it along. Even now being one of the younger people on the team I try to be a leader.

DH: What is the best gift you’ve ever been given, like a birthday or Christmas gift?

THA: My parents don’t give birthday or Christmas gifts. I feel like my parents love me so much and don’t get me presents. When someone does I’m like, “holy crap you love me.” My ex-girlfriend did that. I’ve only been in one relationship. She did so much, it wasn’t even a [specific] gift, it was her heart, every day.

DH: That’s so cute. :gives sappy look: (both start laughing)

I’m excited to see how Tomas brings his competitive personality and drive to the field. The Galaxy had a rough season defensively last year and I’ll be watching Hilliard-Arce to see how he can contribute to the back line.

Featured image: @LAGalaxy

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @GalaxySoccerMom

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A Candid Conversation with Uriel Antuna

LA Galaxy Contributor

By Debbie Haar // @GalaxySoccerMom

After much anticipation, the L.A. Galaxy announced on January 29, 2019, a one-year loan deal with Manchester City for 21-year old Mexican International midfielder Uriel Antuna. Antuna signed a four-year contract with Manchester City in 2017, spending last season on loan with FC Groningen in the Netherlands. In November 2018, he was called up for the senior Mexican National Team for friendlies against Belgium and Poland but saw no play time.

I was lucky enough to sit down and talk to him just a few hours after his loan deal was officially announced by the Galaxy.

Debbie Haar: Welcome to L.A. How’s it feel to be here and with the Galaxy?

Uriel Antuna: Good. It’s very exciting.

DH: How have the practices been?

UA: Hard, but it needs to be that way. I’m used to them now.

DH: So, when did you start playing soccer?

UA: Probably age 3. My Dad loves futbol.

DH: What kind of kid were you?

UA: I talked a lot to my Mom. Sometimes I was a little crazy.

DH: What’s your Mom like?

UA: (big smile) She is crazy! (laughs) She used to bang on the drums in the stands during my games.

DH: Would you like if we said hi to your Mom in this article?

UA: Yes! (Hi Bertha, you did a good job Mom!)

DH: Do you get recognized in public?

UA: I did in the Netherlands.

DH: Did it feel like an invasion of privacy?

UA: No! I love the fans.

DH: Do you get homesick?

UA: I miss my family – this is futbol life.

DH: Do you have any brothers or sisters?

UA: I have two younger brothers age 16 and 12. My brother Kevin plays in Mexico.

DH: We heard about your Mom, what is your Dad like? What does he do?

UA: He is very proud and supportive. He delivers chips to stores for a living.

DH: If you weren’t a soccer player what career would you pursue?

UA: I don’t know, I always wanted to play soccer. I’d like to study. I’m good at math. You show me once and I know it.

DH: Are you superstitious or have any pregame rituals?

UA: I used to. I put my left sock on, then my right sock. Then my left shoe, then my right. But I stopped that.

DH: What’s your favorite thing to eat?

UA: I eat a lot! I like pizza and sushi.

DH: Question. Do you like pineapple on pizza?

UA: Yes.

DH: You’re awesome! On your days off do you wake up early or like to sleep in?

UA: I like to sleep.

DH: Do you drink coffee?

UA: Of course!

DH: What kind of coffee do you like?

UA: Caramel. I love caramel and I don’t like my coffee hot.

DH: Tell me something interesting most people don’t know about you.

UA: I gave up soda eight years ago. I only drink water, apple juice or orange juice. Sometimes sparkling water but not too much.

DH: I watched you score a hat trick in the CONCACAF U20 Championship game, you did some very impressive gymnastics after. Where did you learn to do flips like that?

UA: (laughs) I learned on my bed, then just started doing them on the field.

DH: Do you play video games?

UA: Of course! PlayStation, Call of Duty.

DH: What has been your achievement when it comes to soccer?

UA: Signing with Manchester City.

DH: Does it ever bother you when fans boo or get upset?

UA: No, you get used to it. We don’t want to lose either. I like when fans are fans through the good and bad.

DH: We’re all excited to watch you play. Thank you for taking the time to talk to me.

UA: Of course.

(Some communication was done via translation app)

L.A. is excited to see you on the field, Uriel. Welcome to the Galaxy.

Featured image: @LAGalaxy

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @GalaxySoccerMom

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

Spotlight on LA Galaxy player: Matt Lampson

LA Galaxy Key Contributor

By Debbie Haar // @GalaxySoccerMom

On January 23 the LA Galaxy signed veteran goalkeeper Matt Lampson in the 2nd stage of the re-entry draft. During his seven seasons with MLS, the 29-year-old has played for Columbus Crew SC, Chicago Fire and Minnesota United FC. During his career, he has made 60 appearances, 194 saves and had 16 shutouts. He once admitted as a kid he wanted to be a goalie because he wanted the “cool gloves”. Goal achieved.

Although soccer is a huge part of his life, I wanted to know and share who Matt Lampson is off the soccer field.

Lampson is a two-time winner of MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year award for his work with cancer patients and survivors, most recently winning again in 2018. After donating blood during his senior year of high school he received the devastating news he had stage 4B Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a form of blood cancer. He stated he never once thought about losing his battle with cancer.

We look forward to watching him bring that kind of motivating positivity to the soccer field. He sent out a celebratory tweet on September 24, 2018 stating he has been cancer free for 11 years. He also confessed that there is no doubt in his mind that if he didn’t have cancer he would not be a professional athlete.

In 2014, Matt Lampson founded the LampStrong Foundation, a non-profit with the mission of positively changing the lives of those battling cancer and encouraging survivors and their families to make the most of their second chance at life. After games, you may see him on the field, at both home and away games, with kids who are fighting or survived cancer and their families. Kudos to him for taking the time to inspire and motivate those who need it most.

Who doesn’t like doughnuts? Lampson is no different. The L.A. Galaxy now has it’s own “doughnut snob” and proud owner of an array of doughnut shirts. During an interview last year he took the time to describe the perfect old fashioned doughnut with well thought out phrases such as “texture of a crunch”, “delicately dense” and “velvety smooth on the inside”. He often plans doughnut shop counter takeovers and doughnut tours to raise money for his foundation. Doughnuts are not his only food favorite, he also is a self-proclaimed meat lover.

He has a thing for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He mixed his hobby of art and his fondness of the TMNT and drew impressive pictures of each turtle, painted them, then displayed them proudly on his walls. He has even been known to celebrate with TMNT birthday cakes. At one time he even had a turtle he affectionately called as his precious lil ninja Leonardo.

The fans look forward to seeing Matt Lampson bring his positivity and resilience to the field. Welcome to L.A., we look forward to watching you play!

Featured image: @LAGalaxy

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @GalaxySoccerMom

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale