Greg Vanney used to be a good Galaxy defender. Back in the Rose Bowl days, Vanney was a fixture on the backline of an emerging Galaxy club before he went abroad. Now, it's like old times again as Vanney is with the club once more.
But will he once again be a good Galaxy defender?
Alexi Lalas talked to Billy Witz of the Daily News about Vanney, and the Galaxy boss seems to think he's gotten a player with qualities that extend beyond the soccer field.
The part of the story that struck me is where Lalas said that Vanney would "bring a level of professionalism that, quite honestly, we need more of."
When I read that, I paused and wondered if he really said that. Of course he did, but I just couldn't believe that he would actually think that and feel that way.
Let me think of some of the players who carried a great deal of "professionalism" about them whom Lalas has shipped away.
- Todd Dunivant: That guy is a pro's pro. He knows his role on his team and does nothing to take the focus away from his team.
- Tyrone Marshall: Talk about a professional... Tyrone has this league figured out and knows what's important and is not afraid to smack his teammates into shape.
- Chris Albright: He matured so much with the Galaxy. A company man, through and through, Albright was hard on youngsters and demanded a lot from them, and all that was beneficial to the team.
- Kevin Hartman: Sometimes, too honest for his own good, but Gato knew how players needed to carry themselves on and off the field.
- Herculez Gomez: He went from a knucklehead to a pro in no time, and he could have helped groom some of the youngsters along as well.
Anyway, I know there are more, but I want to get back to Lalas' comments. A year ago, the Galaxy needed guys who could handle this unique environment David Beckham's presence demanded. Now, the Galaxy needs more professionalism. I wonder at what point the Galaxy is going to need guys who the team can actually use on the field and build around for several years to come, not aging has-beens with a few good games left in them. I wonder when the Galaxy will feel it is important to keep players for longer than a couple of seasons.