The Los Angeles Galaxy's roster has been decimated this offseason with the departure of several veteran players, and to make matters worse, the coaching staff and front office also took a hit with Bruce Arena's decision to coach the U.S. Men's National Team.
Now comes the rebuild.
This week the team announced that it signed physical midfielder Jermaine Jones. Jones, a U.S. Men’s National Team member who was acquired through the use of Targeted Allocation Money, joins the Galaxy after spending seasons with the Colorado Rapids and the New England Revolution in MLS. He also had an accomplished career in Germany.
“Jermaine is a winner who has experience in MLS and playing against the highest competition in the world,” said new Galaxy Head Coach Curt Onalfo. “He has a relentless engine on the field and we are confident that he will strengthen our midfield. We look forward to him joining the Galaxy as we prepare for the upcoming season."
Jones, 35, spent the previous three seasons in Major League Soccer with Colorado and New England as he led his teams to the 2014 MLS Cup Final and the 2016 MLS Western Conference Finals, respectively.
Prior to his time in Major League Soccer, Jones had a storied career in the German Bundesliga, where he played for nearly 15 seasons for Eintracht Frankfurt, Bayern Leverkusen and Schalke 04. He then spent a brief stint with Beşiktaş in Turkey before moving to MLS in 2014.
The midfielder has also been a stalwart as a member of the U.S. Men’s National Team, making over 60 appearances since 2010, including featuring in the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Jones joined the New England Revolution in August 2014 and played a crucial role in leading his team to the 2014 MLS Cup, where the Revolution fell 2-1 to the Galaxy at StubHub Center. After joining the Colorado Rapids in 2016, Jones helped Colorado reach the 2016 MLS Western Conference Final series where they fell to the eventual MLS champions Seattle Sounders. In matches which Jones appeared in, his teams have gone 21-5-11 during his MLS career.
In addition to his accomplished professional career, Jones became one of the USMNT’s most reliable players since his first appearance in 2010. To date, Jones has made 67 appearances and scored four goals as a USMNT member, including a goal in the 2014 FIFA World Cup against Portugal.
In addition to the 2014 FIFA World Cup, he represented the U.S. at the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2011 and 2015 and the Copa America Centenario in 2016, among other competitions.
In other team news . . .
Galaxy sign 23-year-old midfielder Vitória Guimarães
The Galaxy announced that the club has signed Portuguese Midfielder João Pedro Almeida Machado, known as João Pedro, from Vitória Guimarães of Portugal’s first division.
Pedro, 23, was added as a Special Discovery Player through Target Allocation Money (TAM). He will occupy an International roster spot and officially join the Galaxy’s roster pending the receipt of his ITC and P-1 Visa.
“João is an extremely talented midfielder who has experience playing at a high level in Portugal,” said Galaxy General Manager Peter Vagenas. “He is only 23 years old and has the best years of his career front of him. We identified him as a top target this offseason and we think he can immediately help strengthen our midfield. We look forward to welcoming João to Los Angeles as we continue to prepare for the upcoming season.”
Pedro, a product of Vermil, Portugal, has been a part of Portuguese side Vitória Guimarães since 2005, when he joined the club’s youth academy. Since then, he has risen up the ranks to earn a starting position in central midfield on the first team in the Primeira Liga, Portugal’s top division. The Portuguese midfielder has helped his side to fifth place in the Liga Primeira standings this season, starting in each of his team’s 17 matches this year while scoring a goal.
Prior to his time in the Primeira Liga, Pedro excelled as a member of Vitória Guimarães II, the club’s second team in LigaPro, Portugal’s second division, when he signed his first professional contract as a 19-year-old before going on to make over 100 appearances.
Galaxy Sign Midfielder Sebastian Lletget to Contract Extension
The Galaxy signed midfielder Sebastian Lletget to a contract extension, the club announced this week. Lletget, 24, joined the Galaxy during the 2015 season and has made 40 starts while tallying eight goals and 10 assists in MLS competition.
The San Francisco product first signed with the LA Galaxy on May 8 of 2015 before making his first start a month later when he scored against the Columbus Crew. The midfielder went on to score six goals in just eight matches in MLS after making his debut start. That year, Lletget finished the season with seven goals and two assists in the MLS Regular Season, and nine goals in all competitions.
In 2016, the midfielder continued as a standout in the midfield for LA, featuring in all but three of the Galaxy’s 34 MLS matchups. In all competitions, Lletget scored five goals and added nine assists in 2016, including four goals in the U.S. Open Cup to help the Galaxy advance to the semifinal of the tournament.
Prior to joining the LA Galaxy, Lletget was with West Ham United in the English Premier League from 2010-2015. He made the move to England after featuring for Sporting Santa Clara as a youth player, where he also made multiple appearances for U.S. Men’s National Team youth sides, including call ups to the USMNT U-17’s, U-20’s and U-23’s.
In other soccer news . . .
CONCACAF announces 2016 honors
The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) announced Bryan Ruiz and Alex Morgan, respectively, as the 2016 CONCACAF Male and Female Players of the Year.
Ruiz enjoyed a successful 2016 campaign with club and country. The 31-year-old was key in Sporting Lisbon's run to a runner-up spot in the 2015/16 Portuguese Primeira Liga and a berth in the UEFA Champions League. He also helped Costa Rica to a first-place finish in Group B in the fourth round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup -- scoring in a 3-0 win over Jamaica -- and played in all three of the Ticos' games in the Copa America Centenario.
Morgan -- recipient of inaugural CONCACAF award for the region's top female player in 2013 -- finished level with Carli Lloyd as the USA's joint-top scorer in 2016 on 17 goals, including five in the CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Championship and two in the Women's Olympic Football Tournament. She also netted four goals in 15 games for the Orlando Pride of the National Women's Soccer League.
Winners in other categories are: Goalkeepers of the Year - Keylor Navas and Ashlyn Harris; Coaches of the Year - Óscar Ramírez and Amelia Valverde; Referees of the Year - César Arturo Ramos and Carol Anne Chenard; Goal of the Year – Jesús Corona, in the 80th minute of the Copa America Centenario match vs. Venezuela.
The 2016 Outstanding Performance Award went to the Canadian Women's National Team and Head Coach John Herdman, medalists at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The Best XI squads were also selected, with Costa Rica and the United States placing a total of six players on the Male and Female teams, respectively.
Here’s a closer look at the vote in each of this year's categories:
CONCACAF Male Player of the Year
1. Bryan Ruiz (MF/FW) | Costa Rica; Sporting Clube de Portugal (POR)
2. Hirving Lozano (FW/MF) | Mexico; C.F. Pachuca (MEX)
3. Keylor Navas (GK) | Costa Rica; Real Madrid C. F. (ESP)
CONCACAF Female Player of the Year
1. Alex Morgan (FW) | United States; Orlando Pride (USA)
2. Tobin Heath (MF) | United States; Portland Thorns FC (USA)
3. Crystal Dunn (FW) | United States; Washington Spirit (USA)
CONCACAF Male Goalkeeper of the Year
1. Keylor Navas | Costa Rica; Real Madrid C. F. (ESP)
2. Alfredo Talavera | Mexico; Deportivo Toluca F.C. (MEX)
3. Nahuel Guzmán | Argentina; Tigres UANL (MEX)
CONCACAF Female Goalkeeper of the Year
1. Ashlyn Harris | United States; Orlando Pride (USA)
2. Stephanie Labbé | Canada; Washington Spirit (USA)
3. Yoselin Franco | Guatemala; UNIFUT (GUA)
CONCACAF Male Coach of the Year
1. Óscar Ramírez | Costa Rica National Team
2. Ricardo Ferretti | Tigres UANL (MEX)
3. Diego Alonso | C.F. Pachuca (MEX)
CONCACAF Female Coach of the Year
1. Amelia Valverde | Costa Rica National Team
2. Jill Ellis | United States National Team
3. Michelle French | United States Under-20 National Team
CONCACAF Male Referee of the Year
1. César Arturo Ramos | Mexico
2. Joe Fletcher | Canada (Assistant Referee)
3. Joel Aguilar | El Salvador
CONCACAF Female Referee of the Year
1. Carol Anne Chenard | Canada
2. Quetzalli Alvarado | Mexico
3. Kimberly Moreira | Costa Rica (Assistant Referee)
CONCACAF Goal of the Year
1. Jesús Corona | MEXICO v Venezuela, 80'
2. Eduardo Herrera | PUMAS UNAM v CD Honduras Progreso, 66'
3. Alexander Larín | ALIANZA FC (SLV) v New York Red Bulls (USA), 54'
Outstanding Performance Award
Canadian Women's National Team and its Head Coach John Herdman
CONCACAF Male Best XI
Keylor Navas | Costa Rica; Real Madrid CF (ESP)
Ronald Matarrita | Costa Rica; New York City FC (USA)
Wes Morgan | Jamaica; Leicester City FC (ENG)
Rafael Márquez | Mexico; Club Atlas (MEX)
Miguel Layún | Mexico; FC Porto (POR)
Christian Bolaños | Costa Rica; Vancouver Whitecaps FC (CAN)
Atiba Hutchinson | Canada; Besiktas JK (TUR)
Andrés Guardado | Mexico; PSV Eindhoven (NED)
Hirving Lozano | Mexico; CF Pachuca (MEX)
André-Pierre Gignac | France; Tigres UANL (MEX)
Bryan Ruiz | Costa Rica; Sporting Clube de Portugal (POR)
CONCACAF Female Best XI
Ashlyn Harris | United States; Orlando Pride (USA)
Ali Krieger | United States; Orlando Pride (USA)
Kadeisha Buchanan | Canada; West Virginia University (USA)
Becky Sauerbrunn | United States; FC Kansas City (USA)
Ashley Lawrence | Canada; West Virginia University (USA)
Gloriana Villalobos | Costa Rica; Deportivo Saprissa (CRC)
Carli Lloyd | United States; Houston Dash (USA)
Shirley Cruz | Costa Rica; Paris Saint-Germain (FRA)
Tobin Heath | United States; Portland Thorns FC (USA)
Alex Morgan | United States; Orlando Pride (USA)
Christine Sinclair | Canada; Portland Thorns (USA)
By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services