LA Galaxy Honored for MLS title at White House

Join Los Angeles Kings for celebration with President Barack Obama
by Peter Muller   |   Tuesday, March 26, 2013

United Capitol – column on DC United (DCU) & the Washington DC/DMV area soccer scene.

For the second year in a row, the Los Angeles Galaxy on Tuesday celebrated a Major League Soccer championship at a White House ceremony with President Barack Obama.

But this time the Galaxy were joined by their corporate partner, the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings, for an unusual joint celebration that marked a banner year for the two Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) teams that won their respective league titles in 2012.

Phil Anschutz, the conservative billionaire owner of AEG and longtime MLS patron, did not appear to accompany his teams for the visit with Obama. Also noticeably absent was the architect of the AEG sports empire, Tim Leiweke, who was unceremoniously dismissed by Anschutz earlier this month.

The celebration took place in the historic East Room of the White House, with the Galaxy positioned in front of a Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington that has hung in the room for more than 200 years.

Landon Donovan, the all-time leading goal-scorer for the U.S. Men’s National Team, made his return the Galaxy after a months-long sabbatical from soccer.  Donovan’s break from soccer led to his being dropped from the U.S. roster for key world cup qualifying matches this week, including a Tuesday night clash against Mexico in Mexico City.

Donovan presented the president with a Galaxy jersey emblazoned with “Obama” and a No. 1 on the back.  He also gave Obama a soccer ball, which the president proceeded to toss in the air and bounce off his head and later playfully threw to a child in the audience.

Obama acknowledged the absence of Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez, who is in Mexico for the qualifier, and said, “I wish Team USA the very best of luck as they take on Mexico tonight.”

Galaxy captain Robbie Keane also missed out on the White House visit because he is away on duty with Ireland’s national team.

Among those in the audience was former U.S. national team standout Clint Mathis, who now works in a coaching and administrative capacity for the Galaxy.

A visit to the White House has become a tradition for teams that win major American sports championships.  “The opportunity to come to the White House once again is special but to be able to come in consecutive years like we have is extraordinary,” Donovan told the LA Galaxy website.  “Our club is extremely proud to be a part of such a wonderful event.”

The Galaxy visited Washington on their way to Toronto where they will play Toronto FC at BMO field on Saturday. They will resume their CONCACAF Champions League campaign at home next Wednesday when they host Monterrey.

Peter MULLER

Nationality:
USA
College:
Saint Mary's
Club Domestic:
DC United
Club Foreign:
Arsenal
Peter is a government relations professional in Washington, DC, and Los Angeles, CA. He has been a DC United season ticket holder since 1997 and has attended every MLS Cup except one – in 1998 when he was busy helping his boss get re-elected to Congress.
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