Los Angeles Soccer: Nasser Al-Kelaifi
December, 23, 2011
By Scott French | ESPNLosAngeles.com
The Galaxy got one big postseason mission out of the way Friday, re-signing defender/midfielder Sean Franklin while collecting signatures from three others and exercising an option they previously, but not irrevocably, had declined.
Defender/midfielder Bryan Jordan also re-signed, and the Galaxy wrapped up deals with forward Pat Noonan, whose rights were acquired from Seattle in last week's second-stage re-entry draft, and goalkeeper Nick Noble, who has spent the past two seasons in Sweden.
Also back is forward Adam Cristman, who had pulled out of Major League Soccer's re-entry process after the option on his contract, worth only the league minimum of $42,000 last year (but with a salary boost anticipated), was initially declined.
Franklin (Palmdale/Highland HS and Cal State Northridge), 26, the 2008 MLS Rookie of the Year and an MLS All-Star Game starter last summer, is the big news. He's among the best right backs in MLS and is probably better as a right-sided midfielder, which is where he'll likely play if Landon Donovan is paired with Robbie Keane on L.A.'s forward line.
Jordan (Temple City/Temple City HS), 26, who has been with the Galaxy since 2008, is a backup, primarily as an outside back, who played in 18 first-team and eight MLS Reserve League games last season. Cristman, 26, a big, physical, hard-working forward, scored eight goals in 33 games, including Reserve League, after arriving in a trade last January.
Noonan, 31, was one of four players the Galaxy selected from other rosters during the second-stage draft in the re-entry process. He's scored 46 goals in 10 MLS seasons, but only four in the last five injury-filled campaigns. He played just 259 minutes across nine games with the Sounders last season.
Noble, 27, was Chicago's first-round draft pick in 2007, when Galaxy associate head coach Dave Sarachan was the Fire boss, but he never saw league action before his June 2009 release. He played briefly with the second-tier Austin Aztex before taking off to Sweden, where he's spent the past two seasons, making 59 first-team appearances, at second-division Ljungskile SK.
Noble is the third goalkeeper on the Galaxy roster, joining Josh Saunders and Brian Perk. The Galaxy also selected Jon Conway from Chicago in the second-stage re-entry draft, but Noble's signing might signal that the club, which won't carry more than three netminders, doesn't plan to bring in Conway.
BECKHAM IN DOHA?: Agence France-Presse reports that David Beckham will attend the Qatar ATP Open tennis tournament in Doha right after New Year's and could sign with Qatari-owned Paris Saint-Germain at that time.
The tournament runs Jan. 2-8 and the president of Qatar's tennis federation is Nasser Al-Kelaifi, who also is president of PSG. Al-Kelaifi heads Qatar Sports Investments, a quasi-governmental outfit that is the French club's primary shareholder.
ELSEWHERE: Other MLS news ...
- Midfielder Baggio Husidic, whom Colorado drafted from Chicago in the second-stage re-entry draft, is former Galaxy defender/assistant coach Gregg Berhalter's first signing with Hammarby in Sweden.
- New England signed midfielder Clyde Simms, which it acquired from D.C. United during the second-stage draft.
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