Chris Klein

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic says goodbye to the LA Galaxy

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic has bid adieu to Major League Soccer, thanking the LA Galaxy for “making me feel alive again.”

The Swedish superstar averaged nearly a goal per game with the Galaxy, and was rumored to be in line for another two years at the club.

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Perhaps those reports, and maybe AC Milan’s struggles to score goals, have made more suitors come forward. Time will tell.

The Galaxy said the decision was a “mutual parting of ways” and thanked the player for his work both on and off the pitch.

From LAGalaxy.com:

“We would like to thank Zlatan for his contributions to the LA Galaxy and Major League Soccer,” said LA Galaxy President Chris Klein. “Since his arrival in 2018, Zlatan has positively influenced the sport of soccer in Los Angeles. We are grateful for his work ethic and passion. We thank Zlatan for his professionalism and immeasurable impact on the Los Angeles community and the soccer community in North America as a whole.”

Zlatan’s full thoughts, below, were a bit more Zlatanny.

Klein will have his hands full in replacing Ibrahimovic, who scored 52 times in 53 matches, but the Galaxy have always managed to bring in big names.

Getting a star playmaker is even more important as El Trafico rivals LAFC have rewritten the MLS record book and snared plenty of attention in California and across the league.

LA Galaxy hires Peter Vagenas as GM, replacing Bruce Arena

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CARSON, Calif. (AP) Peter Vagenas has been chosen to replace Bruce Arena as the LA Galaxy’s general manager.

Galaxy President Chris Klein announced the promotion Monday for Vagenas, the captain of the Galaxy’s 2005 MLS championship team.

Vagenas also will remain the Galaxy’s vice president of soccer operations, his job since January.

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He will be involved in the search for a coach to replace Arena, who was the Galaxy’s coach and GM while leading the club to three MLS Cup titles.

Arena returned to the U.S. national team last week.

Vagenas played nine of his 13 MLS seasons with the Galaxy, winning two MLS Cups. The Los Angeles-area native became the director of the LA Galaxy Academy in 2013.

Klein says the Galaxy plans to have a new coach in place before 2017.

LA Galaxy launches three fully-funded girls’ academy teams

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You want hope that American soccer will take the next step? Look no further than the LA Galaxy.

There’s no way to overstate what the Galaxy announced today. In a climate of expensive inclusion for young athletes, the MLS side announced a tuition-free girls academy.

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The Galaxy says its the first MLS club to do this, and the initiative covers the U14/15, U16/17 and U18/19 teams in the new U.S. Soccer Girls’ Development Academy League.

From LAGalaxy.com:

“The LA Galaxy want to continue to invest in and lead the development of youth soccer in North America in every facet,” said LA Galaxy President Chris Klein. “Adding an Academy program for girls is a huge step for this club in order to continue that investment. We are thrilled to launch this program and provide a structure for young girls to grow and develop in a professional environment free of charge.”

The LA Galaxy Girls’ Academy team will be the first and only program to be fully-funded by a Major League Soccer side, allowing talented local athletes to join free of charge.

Seeing a club do this when it could easily charge boatloads of money is so encouraging. This is how top-end talent truly gets nurtured at a club.

U.S. federation announces another strong National Soccer Hall of Fame nominee class

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Another tough round of voting is ahead as the final list of nominees was announced for the National Soccer Hall of Fame Class of 2014.

In its release today on the nominees, U.S. Soccer says voting will begin immediately in three categories: Player, Veteran Player and Builder. Voting continues through Feb. 7.

Hall of Fame voters – including coaches and officials from the pro game, U.S. Soccer coaches and officials, designated media members and Hall of Famers – can list up to 10 candidates on their ballot. For the Player category, athletes appearing on two-thirds (66.7 percent) of voter ballots are elected. Players not appearing on at least five percent of ballots will be subtracted from the ballot (pending availability for the Veterans ballot.)

It’s not easy to gain the needed percentage. Two years ago only four players were selected: Tony Meola, Claudio Reyna, Tony DiCicco and Desmond Armstrong. A year ago only two made the cut: Joe-Max Moore and Peter Vermes.

These really are tough choices. On this ballot there are guys who were first to important MLS scoring mileposts (Jason Kreis), guys that surely would have caught up with them but for career-ending injuries (Taylor Twellman) guys who accomplished so much despite unfortunate injuries (John O’Brien), plenty of women’s players who won multiple World Cups or Olympic golds (Kristine Lilly and Brianna Scurry just to name a couple), guys who scored huge World Cup goals (Clint Mathis, Brian McBride — pictured above), huge MLS international stars (Marco Etcheverry) … and the list goes on.

In fact, here’s the entire list:

2014 National Soccer Hall of Fame Player Ballot

  • Chris Armas
  • Raul Diaz Arce
  • Marco Etcheverry
  • Lorrie Fair
  • Robin Fraser
  • Chris Henderson
  • Zoran Karic
  • Chris Klein
  • Jason Kreis
  • Eddie Lewis
  • Kristine Lilly
  • Kristin Luckenbill
  • Shannon MacMillan
  • Kate Sobrero Markgraf
  • Clint Mathis
  • Brian McBride
  • Jaime Moreno
  • Victor Nogueira
  • John O’Brien
  • Ben Olsen
  • Cindy Parlow Cone
  • Steve Ralston
  • Ante Razov
  • Tiffany Roberts
  • Tony Sanneh
  • Briana Scurry
  • Taylor Twellman