The 2015 MLS season may not start on time, but that didn’t keep LA Galaxy coach Bruce Arena from naming Robbie Keane the captain for the entire season. No matter if Steven Gerrard is on the roster or not, Keane will still be the team’s captain and that is the right move to make.
“He’s our captain and our penalty kick taker until he tells me otherwise,” said Arena when asked if Keane will continue to take penalties for LA.
This is the right move for Arena. Keane has been a strong leader for the five-time MLS Cup Champions and has helped in the development of younger players like Gyasi Zardes.In addition, he’s one of the top MLS players and a key reason to why the Galaxy won the 2014 MLS Cup.
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Heading into 2015, Keane’s importance to the team is higher. Without Landon Donovan and Gerrard not joining until July, Keane will have to be on his A game offensively. Arena correctly has confidence in his star as Keane will be taking penalty kicks until further notice. This is a smart move as any other decision could cause a rift with Keane and others in the locker room.
Keane has done nothing to lose his coach’s confidence and respect. Gerrard is a great player and has showed his skills well for Liverpool. However, that doesn’t mean he should be named captain or be taking the penalties for the Galaxy during the game. Keane understands the Galaxy system as he’s been there since 2011 and has the respect of the locker room. On the other hand, Gerrard is unfamiliar with the players and the commodore within the locker room.
In fact, he didn’t even come to the team facility before signing with team. The first time he met Arena was during the Galaxy’s trip to Ireland. This isn’t unusual for soccer players to sign with a team before meeting the team’s coach and front office, but it doesn’t happen all the time. Likewise, a new face in a locker room shouldn’t be named captain right away especially when there is a leader and star player already on the roster.
Gerrard’s successful soccer career shouldn’t take a hit by moving to MLS and the Galaxy. It should continue with key goals and assists as well as being a leader within the organization.
For now, Galaxy fans can look forward to another successful year for their team. Arena made another wise move announcing Keane as captain for another season. It keeps consistency within a team that has faced some changes this offseason, and prevents a rift and frustration from happening due to Arena changing captains.