On Tuesday afternoon the Los Angeles Galaxy came to terms with veteran defender Greeg Berhalter and re-signed him to a one year contract. With this new signing, Berhalter became the first player in team history to serve as player and assistant coach.
“We are very excited to have re-signed Gregg Berhalter and look forward to having his experience and leadership for the upcoming season,” said Galaxy GM and Head Coach Bruce Arena in the press release. “In addition to his role on the field, he will also be joining the club’s technical staff and will be working with our defenders and the reserve team.”
Last season the center back sat out 14 regular season games due to injuries. In the 16 games he did appear in, LA went 9-4-3 with an 11 goal differential and eight clean sheets.
At 37 years old, the risk of signing an aged professional is high. Physiologically, a person’s metabolism slows down, recovery time is greater, and injuries can be attained more easily than on a youngster. Not to mention all the injuries sustained in the 2010 campaign. However, Arena has faith in his veteran.
According to the Galaxy staff, Berhalter’s leadership and presence of mind in the back field stabilized the defense and led them to the fewest goals allowed in club history last year.
“I’m excited about the year we have ahead of us,” said Berhalter in the press release. “Looking at the nucleus of the team, a lot of it is still together and that helps when you are trying to continue on the path we’ve been on. Obviously, we fell a little short of our goals last year, but now we have another crack at it this year.”
“I want to thank Bruce for giving me that opportunity. It’s not that often that a player has both of those responsibilities so I’m excited.”
The Galaxy will kick off the 2011 season in Seattle’s Qwest Field on Tuesday, the ides of March when they take on the Sounders FC.