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Galaxy visit White House, Bruce Arena targets player development

May 15, 2012, 4:09 PM EDT

Barack Obama AP

On their way back to Los Angeles from Montreal, LA Galaxy stopped off for their well-earned White House visit. You know: that ceremonial honor given to those who win titles? The one people can’t decide is meaningful or merely obligatory? But hey, at least nobody didn’t use this as an opportunity for misguided politicization (though it would be funny to see Juninho dogmatically expressing strong views on the growth of government).

Per Washington Post’s Steven Goff, all the Galaxy luminaries were there, including a relatively ignored David Beckham. Former Galaxy contributors Clint Mathis and Chris Klein were also in attendance, presumably just in the neighborhood.

More interesting (for us) than a visit to the president, Goff got some time with former D.C. United, current Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena, whose answers on a myriad of topics ranged from pointed, to brow-furrowing, to more honest than he needs to be.

The honesty, as it concerned the visit itself:

“In a perfect world, we certainly wouldn’t be doing this,” said Arena, whose team played in Montreal on Saturday and will return to Los Angeles on Tuesday night. “But it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the players and staff who haven’t been involved in this type of ceremony. It’s certainly a great honor.”

On what’s been troubling his team (which sits seventh in the West after lifting MLS Cup in November), well, that’s where brow-furrowing comes in:

“I can give you that answer at the end of the year,” he said. “I have a lot of understanding why our issues to date have been what they are, but that’s not anything I will make public right now. I have a very good sense why.”

Oh, boy. That sounds horrible.

On his coaching future, having reached his 60th birthday:

“A year or two more and then I would love to have the challenge of impacting the technical direction of the league,” he said, declining to reveal when his contract expires. “That’s something that keeps my head spinning every day. It’s been very difficult to have a dialogue in the league that impacts change.”

And that’s where the responses get particularly pointed. You should read Mr. Goff’s full interview to get the depth and flow, but one more piece on player development:

“There is a model for how to do this stuff — it’s how the rest of the world does it. The model is there for us. We just have to get that model efficiently running in our system. It takes a number of people having the time and the right voice and the right intelligence to articulate the message.”

Who has the right voice and intelligence? Check out the full interview.

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