Los Angeles Soccer: Barry Gorman

Heath Pearce: 'I thought it was paranoia'

February, 16, 2011
We caught up with new Chivas USA defender Heath Pearce on Wednesday from Arizona, where he had just finished his first training with the club, which on Tuesday acquired him from FC Dallas for allocation money.

Here's some of the conversation:

Were you surprised when you heard?

I kind of had a feeling something was happening the last few days. I thought it was just a little bit of paranoia, something like that. I'd been told two weeks prior they were not going to trade me, that they had plans and I should rest assured I won't be traded. I was told they expected big things from me.

So in that sense, it was a bit of a shock to hear. But I'm really excited about this.

Chivas has a coaching staff of defenders: Robin Fraser, Greg Vanney, Carlos Llamosa. Are you excited about that?You look at Robin Fraser, he obviously was one of the better defenders in the league of all-time. Greg Vanney as well. And Robin is coming from [Real] Salt Lake, where they play an attacking style. He has quite an understanding of the game -- I got that from our meeting -- and I'm excited to play in his attacking [scheme].

You come in as a defender, and the two main coaches [Fraser and Vanney] are former players at the international level. It's a great opportunity for me to come in, learn a lot and develop.

You leave an MLS Cup runner-up, a club that is expected to contend again this year, for a team that is rebuilding nearly from scratch. It's a very different situation at Chivas USA.Definitely, and I think the attitude because of that is really positive. Everything's been forgotten in the past, everyone is focused on the present and future. … You look at Dallas, they've lost at this point four contributors, three starters [Pearce and midfielders Dax McCarty and Atiba Harris] and the other started a lot of the season [top scorer Jeff Cunningham]. They're not the same team as last year. It's a give-and-take type of league.

What are your expectations with Chivas? How do you see yourself fitting in?I'm not sure. One of the outside back positions, hopefully competing to start on either side. I'm not sure of their exact plans. I'm just trying to get transitioned as quickly as possible and make a case for myself for a starting position.

Do you have a preference to play on the left, as you have most of your career, or on the right?Not particularly, no. I wasn't a right back prior to last year, but I'm comfortable on both sides. At this point we're trying to find out -- if and when the team needs me on the field.

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