Sadly, as you know, David Beckham left the USA when he heard that I was arranging a trip around the States to look at the soccer here. But Galaxy's assistant coach Trevor James was kind enough to spare some time to speak to me on the wet day at Home Depot Stadium.
Trevor grew up in East Anglia, playing for Ipswich Town, Colchester Utd & Cambridge. He moved to LA as a player in 1984, and has pretty much been here since.
He was an assistant coach of the Canadian national team before he got the job at Galaxy. And he told me about how it compares with the UK.
“Soccer in the US is different from back home”, he told me. “The way the system is set up, the games throughout the season don't matter as much as they do in the UK.”
But Trevor was quick to point out that LA is not necessarily typical of the rest of the USA, especially when it comes to soccer.
“It's much easier to attract players to LA than most places in the USA. The lifestyle here, the weather, it is a very attractive option.” That day aside, I would certainly agree.
A guy who spends a typical day speaking with other coaches, scheduling coaching sessions, as well as scouting players and running the youth setup at the Galaxy, I felt Trevor was in as good a position as anyone to tell me what the standard of players in the US was like. And he didn't let me down.
“I used to think that the standard was good – I mean technically good – and that the major difference was the pace; that the Americans were slower”, he said. “But I realise now that the standard has generally got better; that that wasn't necessarily the case. Now that the games are on TV, I think that's really helped.”
I finished chatting with Trevor shortly after 3.00pm, and didn't get back to Santa Monica until after 7.30pm. The bus trip was fairly uneventful, but travelling through some of LA's worse neighbourhoods was pretty intimidating. And long.
In short -if you go to LA, drive.