Former Liverpool legend and current LA Galaxy player Steven Gerrard revealed some interesting comments that may have showed that he didn’t know what he was getting into when he joined MLS and the LA Galaxy.
Gerrard’s quote, included in Adam Serrano’s story on lagalaxy.com showed that Gerrard apparently wasn’t aware of some of the nuances like artificial turf and differences in climate and altitude across the United States that can make MLS tough for foreign players if they aren’t fully prepared.
“Going on the road, playing on turf, playing at altitude, playing in humidity, those are the hurdles that I’ve had to face over the last three months that I wasn’t aware of. Every away game has a different challenge. At home, we’ve got no problems because we’re very strong and we play well. We’ll always win more than we lose. For us to move forward next year and finish in the top two spots – and avoid games like [Seattle] – we’ve got to be better defensively and stop conceding on set pieces and crosses.”
Honestly, I’m not shocked that Steven Gerrard legitimately didn’t know about any of this. I had predicted that he was in for a rude awakening before he even stepped foot in the United States. When it was mentioned that he would fly to England in the middle of the MLS season to do Champions League for BT Sport, I felt he wasn’t taking things as seriously as he should, especially for a 35 year old who showed signs of age at Liverpool.
This is a sign of a bigger issue and a huge reason why some big name Designated Players thrive in MLS and some do not. For one thing, MLS is more than Los Angeles and New York City. Whether it’s the altitude of Colorado, the artificial turf of the Cascadia region, the humidity of Orlando or the unbearable heat of Kansas City in the Summer, MLS doesn’t discriminate when it comes to humbling some big name players who thought they were going to waltz in and do damage in MLS. For every Robbie Keane, there’s a Jermain Defoe. For every Didier Drogba, there’s an Andrea Pirlo. For every Thierry Henry or Kaka, there’s a Frank Lampard or Marco Di Vaio.
As Steven Gerrard possibly enters his final season as a soccer player next year, he needs to make sure he takes MLS a bit more seriously. Because Gerrard getting schooled by Nelson Valdez this past Wednesday is a sad look on Steven Gerrard’s later career.