LA Galaxy midfielder Steven Gerrard admits to being shocked by a number of intangibles and elements that make MLS different from leagues around the world.
MLS Media Day isn’t just for media. It’s also for the league’s stars to go through a car wash of sponsor videos, PSAs and other things to promote the season ahead. Like the two dozen other players here from around the league, L.A.’s Steven Gerrard had been going straight since 8 a.m. when he took the hot seat in front of a roundtable of soccer writers at 3:50 p.m. on Tuesday. And coffee in hand, he didn’t disappoint.
Gerrard was funny. When asked about having to find chemistry with fellow midseason arrival Giovani Dos Santos after an unusually early playoff exit, he smiled and cracked: “Blame us, blame us.” Then he added: “The good thing is we have a preseason to work stuff out and get used to each other.”
Gerrard also had to get used to the league. “How can I put it?” he said. “When I turned up here, I didn’t know there was humidity in Houston, didn’t know there was altitude in Salt Lake. I didn’t know a lot about a league that was new and a bit of a shock to me at the time. Now I know what’s in store for me … I’m in a lot better position now than when I first turned up.”
The Liverpool legend, who said he viewed this Premier League season as a missed opportunity for LFC, wanted to talk more about MLS and the Galaxy. He said he was excited by the names of the players L.A. has been linked to, including Ashley Cole, and hopes they’ll join the team sooner rather than later if signed. He also likes living in Los Angeles.
“It’s refreshing and peaceful," he said. "I go about my day-to-day business pretty much unrecognized. The odd people who are soccer fans pull me aside from time to time. But at home [in England] it’s really intense and grueling. When you’re captain of Liverpool and England it’s very difficult to go about unnoticed.
“Settling off the pitch is not a problem, it’s fine. It’s a shame the press don’t judge you for your performance off the pitch, because it’s been 10 out of 10.”
There goes that sense of humor again. You got the sense from listening to Gerrard that he likes it here in Southern California, but he’d really like to finish his playing career this season by going out on top. And that’s no joke.