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Category: MLS

Chivas USA goes to great heights to unveil jersey

SoccerChivas USA will sport a new look at home this season -- and the team went a long way to unveil it, breaking out their redesigned jerseys Wednesday at 30,000 feet on a flight from Guadalajara to Southern California.

Guadalajara is home to Chivas, one of the most popular Mexican soccer teams, and Los Angeles is home to Chivas USA of Major League Soccer. But in addition to sharing a name, the teams also share a red-and-white uniform top.

So the new look that was rolled out Wednesday bears more similarities than differences with the old design. And while there are subtle differences in the uniform's physical appearance, the biggest change is the high-tech fabric the Adidas jerseys are made from, which is said to improve comfort and performance.

The uniform's debut was clearly one of a kind, though, with players modeling them in the aisle of an airplane.

“The unveiling ... was a unique event in soccer history and in line with the innovative ideas that the red-and-white organization constantly develops. And when you start off on the right foot, all finishes well,” said Rodrigo Morales, the team's vice president of marketing and sponsorship.

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-- Kevin Baxter

Photo: Chivas USA's Juan Pablo Angel shows off the team's new uniform on a team flight Wednesday. Credit: Chivas USA

Juninho and Leonardo coming back to Galaxy

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Maybe Juninho is Portuguese for boomerang. Because the Galaxy midfielder of the same name, who left Major League Soccer to re-sign with his Brazilian club Sao Paulo two months ago, is returning after all.

Actually, Juninho is a common nickname for Brazilian soccer players whose given names include Junior. But no matter what he wants to be called, Coach Bruce Arena is just happy to have him and fellow Brazilian Leonardo back.

Juninho, 23, started 30 regular-season games for the Galaxy last season and played a key role in helping the team to the MLS Cup title. His decision to return home looked to be a devastating loss for the Galaxy,  but with Sao Paulo flush with midfielders, the Brazilian club agree to loan him back to the Galaxy.

Terms of the deal were not immediately available. Juninho is expected to meet the Galaxy in Southern California next week.

Leonardo, 24, figured in the Galaxy's plans in central defense last season, but his year was cut short after he tore two ligaments in his right knee, leading to season-ending knee surgery after just seven games. He has played in just 17 of 64 regular-season games since joining the Galaxy in 2010.

He will join the Galaxy as a free transfer.

The team also announced that Jose Villarreal underwent successful surgery Monday for bilateral lower leg compartment syndrome -- basically really bad shin splints. The condition was  diagnosed last week and Villareal is expected to miss about a month and a half.

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Photo: Galaxy midfielder Juninho celebrates during a Galaxy victory over FC Dallas in August. Credit: Bret Hartman / Associated Press

Chivas USA signs two on second day of camp

Chivasusa_2008_logoA day after opening their preseason training camp, Chivas USA announced that its roster has grown by two, with the addition of Colombian defender John Alexander Valencia and Salvadoran midfielder Marvin Iraheta.

Iraheta, 19, a product of the Cosmos West youth academy, was already in camp with Chivas, while Valencia, 30, is expected to join the team in Oxnard once his immigration paperwork is completed.

Terms of the contracts were not immediately available.

“John is a player we have been scouting for some time now,” Chivas USA General Manager Jose Domene said of Valencia. “He is a great defender that ... will help reinforce our backline.” 

Originally from Medellin, Valencia has played for Corporacion Popular Deportiva Junior (Atletico Junior) in Colombia since fall 2007, appearing in 114 games. Before that he played two years for Independiente Medellin.   

Iraheta, from Departamento Cabañas in El Salvador, moved to Pasadena as a teenager. He was named the Player of the Year for the 2009-2010 season at the U.S. Developmental Academy.

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Galaxy, Chivas USA set to open training camps

Beckham1Newly re-signed midfielder David Beckham is expected to join 15 Galaxy teammates for physical and other testing Saturday before leading Major League Soccer's defending champions in their first workouts of  preseason training camp Monday at the Home Depot Center.

Beckham, who announced Thursday he had reached agreement on a two-year, $15-million deal with the Galaxy, will be attending the start of training camp for the first time in his six years with the team.

Coach Bruce Arena said the team will spend the first week of camp concentrating on fitness training before taking the field on Jan. 30.

Chivas USA, which shares the Home Depot Center with the Galaxy, will open its training camp Monday in Oxnard.

However both teams will be without several key players for most of the training period. Among those missing from the Galaxy camp are Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane, A.J.De La Garza, Brian Perk and Michael Stephens, who are playing either intentionally with a U.S. national team or overseas on loan.

Among the players on the Chivas roster likely to miss the start of training are defender Heath Pearce, who is with the U.S. national team, Jorge Villafana, who has been playing with the U.S. U-23 team, as well as midfielders Miller Bolanos and Oswaldo Minda and defender David Junior Lopes, who are waiting for immigration documents. Bolandos and Minda are from Ecuador; Lopes is Brazilian.

Chivas USA is scheduled to scrimmage the Ventura Fusion on Jan. 27.

The MLS season opens in March.

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-- Kevin Baxter

Photo: Galaxy midfielder David Beckham looks on during a news conference at Staples Center on Thursday announcing his re-signing with the team. Credit: Joe Klamar / AFP/Getty Images

It's official: David Beckham to return to Galaxy for two seasons

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The Galaxy confirmed Wednesday afternoon that midfielder David Beckham has signed a new two-year contract with team, a deal reportedly worth $15 million.

"This was an important decision for me," Beckham said in a statement. The English star turned down an 18-month,  $18.7-million offer from the French club Paris-St. Germain to return to Major League Soccer. "I had many offers from clubs around the world. However I'm still passionate about playing in America and winning trophies with the Galaxy.

The agreement will be officially announced at a press conference in Los Angeles Thursday.

In deciding to stay with the Galaxy, which signed the former English team captain to a five-year deal in 2007, Beckham put his family's desire to remain in Southern California over the potential to earn millions more in Europe.

"I've seen first-hand how popular soccer is now in the States and I'm committed as ever to growing the game here," Beckham, who turns 37 in May. "My family and I are incredibly happy and settled in America and we look forward to spending many more years here."

Beckham's deal also includes a sabbatical that allows him to leave the Galaxy to play for Britain in this summer's Olympic Games in London, plus he and business manager Simon Fuller have an option to own a future MLS expansion team.

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David Beckham will return to the Galaxy

FabforumDavid Beckham is coming back to the Galaxy.

The star midfielder, whose record five-year, $32.5-million contract with the Major League Soccer club expired Dec. 31, will announce Thursday that he has reached agreement on a new contract for the 2012 season, which begins in March. Details of the contract were not immediately available but it is expected to call for a summer sabbatical from MLS play, allowing Beckham to play for the British team in the London Olympics.

[FOR THE RECORD: An earlier version of this post misidentified the British Olympic soccer team as English.]

Beckham, who turns 37 in May, was offered an 18-month contract with French club Paris-St. Germain that would have paid him $1 million a month.

But Beckham, who has long said family concerns would play the biggest role in deciding where he would play, turned down that offer last month because his wife and four children enjoy living in Southern California.

Beckham had the most productive season of his short MLS career last year, playing 26 games and recording 15 assists, the second-highest total in the league.

That not only won him Comeback Player of the Year honors and a spot on the postseason Best XI, but it also helped the Galaxy to an MLS title, giving Beckham national titles in three countries.

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Photo: David Beckham, shown here in December, is returning to the Galaxy. Credit: Quinn Rooney / Getty Images.

Galaxy, Chivas both address needs in MLS SuperDraft

Bruce3The Galaxy has already lost a starting midfielder and a star defender this off-season. So guess what they went after in Thursday's MLS SuperDraft?

Choosing last in both rounds of the two-round draft, General Manager and Coach Bruce Arena selected Indiana defender Tommy Meyer with his first pick and Louisville midfielder Kenney Walker with his second. And while Arena isn't expecting either player to fill the voids created when midfielder Juninho decided to return to his native Brazil and MLS Defender of the Year Omar Gonzalez torn ligaments in his knee, the Galaxy are hoping Meyer and Walker will give the roster additional depth.

A four-year starter at Indiana, Meyer was an all-conference selection last season and is the first defender taken by the Galaxy in the opening round of the SuperDraft since 2009 -- when the team choose Gonzalez, who went on to win Rookie of the Year honors.

"He's a player that has a good profile to be a center back in this league," Arena said of Meyer. "He has physical size, he's a good header of the ball, a good defender and a decent passer. Once we get him into our setting we can learn a little bit more and work with him and try to make him better."

Walker, the 38th and final player taken Thursday, is a defensive midfielder who had a career-high five goals in 23 games last season, leading the Cardinals to the NCAA quarterfinals.

"He had a very good combine," Arena said. "He is ... an aggressive type of player and a good passer."

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David Beckham is staying in Los Angeles, PSG president says

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David Beckham will be staying in Los Angeles, according to the president of the French soccer club that had been trying to lure the English superstar away from the city that has been his home since signing with the Galaxy five years ago.

“David Beckham is in Los Angeles,” Paris Saint-Germain President Nasser Al Khelaifi said at the Qatar Open tennis tournament Tuesday. “And he's going to stay there.”

Beckham is said to be working with the Galaxy on a new contract, possibly for two years, something that could happen as early as this week.

When his initial five-year contract with the Galaxy ended last year, Beckham was believed to be as good as gone from Los Angeles. PSG went after the 36-year-old midfielder hard, with French media reporting that the organization would have almost doubled the annual base salary of $6.5 million Beckham was earning with the Galaxy.

But Beckham, his wife, Victoria, and their four children are said to be quite happy living in Los Angeles. And Beckham is finally enjoying the kind of success he had hoped for when he signed with the Galaxy, which won the MLS Cup in November.

So after weeks of negotiations, Beckham will not be joining PSG, Al Khelaifi confirmed Tuesday.

“David Beckham is not coming,” Al Khelaifi said. “We feel a little disappointed. But both sides agreed it would be better that we not do the deal … maybe in the future.”

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo: David Beckham. Credit: Ted Aljibe / AFP / Getty Images

Juninho leaving Galaxy, David Beckham appears ready to follow

Galaxy3
Turns out David Beckham isn't the only Galaxy player leaving L.A. after the team's recent MLS Cup victory.

Juninho, who had a successful two-year run playing beside Beckham in the central midfield, has signed a three-year deal to return to Sao Paulo in his native Brazil.

An MLS All-Star last summer, the 22-year-old Juninho started 30 MLS games and scored four times -- with three of those goals winning games. 

Meanwhile, the Paris daily Le Parisien says it has confirmed what has long been rumored, namely that Beckham will sign with French club Paris Saint-Germain after his five-year  contract with the Galaxy officially expires on New Year's Eve.

The paper said the former English team captain, who turns 37 in May, has agreed in principle to an 18-month deal worth slightly more than $1 million a month. The contract also contains a potentially lucrative merchandising agreement.

However, a spokesman at Simon Fuller's company XIX Entertainment, which represents Beckham, says the reports are premature. "No agreement has been reached with any club yet; talks of a deal are premature.  David has yet to make a final decision on his future," the spokesman said.

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David Beckham still mulling his future

David3
Will he stay or will he go?

David Beckham isn't saying -- at least, not yet. But anyone reading the tea leaves would have to concede that it does not look good for the Galaxy.

Beckham's five-year, $32.5-million contract with the MLS team expires Dec. 31, and in the run-up to that Beckham has received inquiries from clubs all over the world. None, however, has been as persistent at the French team Paris Saint-Germain. Media reports in France this week quoted unidentified people affiliated with the club as saying that a deal with the former England captain was "95% complete."

The team's oil-rich Qatari owners reportedly are offering Beckham just more than $1 million a month for 18 months. The Galaxy can't match that cash, but in the past the team and Major League Soccer have dangled a possible ownership stake in a future MLS franchise, a deal that could be sweetened with an executive position with AEG, the company that owns the Galaxy.

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Galaxy's Donovan heading back to Everton

Fabforum

Galaxy captain Landon Donovan is heading back to the English Premier League next month, on a two-month loan to Everton.

Donovan also played for Everton in 2010, appearing in 13 games and scoring twice. He will be eligible to play his first match with the team Jan. 4 against Bolton Wanderers 4 and will remain with the club through its Feb. 25 game against Liverpool before rejoining the Galaxy.'

Donovan played in 34 of the Galaxy's 46 games this season, missing six because of injury and five others to his duties with the U.S. national team. That's an average of more than a game a week between the opening of the Major League Soccer season in March and the Galaxy's victory in the MLS Cup final in November.

Nevertheless, the 29-year-old midfielder called the chance to rejoin Everton "too good to pass up."

Donovan led the Galaxy in scoring with 16 goals in MLS and CONCACAF Champions League play. His last score came in the Cup final and accounted for the only goal in the Galaxy's 1-0 win over the Houston Dynamo. Donovan was named MVP of that game and also made the MLS Best XI for the fourth consecutive year.

"This is a great opportunity for Landon," Galaxy Coach and General Manager Bruce Arena said in a statement. "During the final months of the 2011 season he was limited because of an ongoing injury and he just started to get his legs back during the playoffs. Therefore I think his opportunity with Everton comes at a perfect time as he is relaxed and ready to go."

The coming year figures to be another busy one for Dononvan with the Galaxy resuming both Champions League and MLS play in March and the U.S. national team resuming World Cup qualifying in June.

Striker Robbie Keane, whom the Galaxy acquired in August, has also been the subject of loan requests but the Irish national team star has said he has no desire to play in Europe this winter, preferring to rest and recuperate from a series of injuries that limited his playing time n MLS.

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Photo: Landon Donovan. Credit: Bret Hartman / Associated Press.

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