LA Galaxy: Examining Perry Kitchen’s Time at Hearts FC

LA Galaxy midfielder Perry Kitchen first day of training. | Photo by
LA Galaxy: Examining Perry Kitchen’s Time at Hearts FC

After a disastrous 2017 MLS season for the LA Galaxy, new manager Sigi Schmid cleaned house on a squad that could be deemed “below par” for a club with an illustrious history of success. The former Sounders boss made it a mission to sign players with vast amounts of experience and leadership.

One of those players was combative and creative midfielder Perry Kitchen.

The 25 year-old had an illustrious start to his career while in college playing for the University of Akron. He was named captain of the team and they won their first national title in his only season back in 2010.

As a player in the US National Team set-up, his play at the collegiate and international levels earned him a trial at prestigious Belgian club RSC Anderlecht. Kitchen turned down the offer and signed a Generation Adidas MLS contract. As a result, he was selected by DC United as the third overall pick in the 2011 MLS Superdraft.

The good times kept rolling for Kitchen as his gladiator-like play and creativity made him a finalist for MLS Rookie of Year.

In 2013, he notched a career-high in assists with four and helped the team win the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup that same year.

His contract expired after the 2015 season and his play caught the eye of Heart of Midlothian FC (Hearts FC for short). He signed for the club back in February 2015. He made 10 appearances for the club at the back end of the 2015-2016 season and he helped the club achieve a third-place finish in the league and UEFA Europa League qualification.

Captaining teams at the college and youth levels, former Hearts manager Robbie Neilson gave the captain’s armband to him after he took it away from Alim Ozturk after poor performances at the start of the 2016-17 campaign.

Kitchen was asked if he was surprised about receiving such honor, he stated:

“A bit if I’m honest…..But I’m honored to have this role and I’m looking forward to it…Wearing the armband is a huge honour, especially at a club like this.”

It was his first time captaining a professional team and he joined a small group of Americans who captained European Clubs. Kasey Keller (Borussia Moenchengladbach, 2006-07), Brian McBride (Fulham, 2007-08), Gregg Berhalter (Energie Cottbus, 2004-2006; 1860 Munich, 2007-2009) and Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96, 2010-2014).

His play got the fans at Tynecastle out of their seat and and played his best game in a Hearts uniform when they defeated Scottish giants Rangers 2-0 back in November 2016.

Manager Robbie Neilson left the club after the result and Ian Cathro was appointed manager shortly after.

LA Galaxy Perry Kitchen

LA Galaxy midfielders Joao Pedro, Perry Kitchen and Chris Pontius during practice | Photo by Pablo Jacobo for LA Soccer Nation | January 24, 2018

Sometimes in soccer, some managers prefer some players to others and it was clear that he didn’t see Kitchen in the same light as Neilson and the American saw his minutes diminish towards the end of the 2016-2017 season.

He left the club in the 2017 season and joined Danish side Randers and Cathro was fired after Hearts’ poor display in the Scottish Cup in late 2017. Possibly an act of divine retribution?

After making 17 appearances for the side, he decided to join the LA Galaxy.

Schmid knew of his leadership qualities well before his time in Scotland and knew he was the right person to lead the Galaxy to a successful campaign in 2018. Reporter Delmy Barillas spoke with Schmid about his leadership qualities:

“I’ve seen Perry play as well for a long time. I think it’s no accident that Akron won their one title in that one year he was captain. Every place he’s been, he’s shown himself to be a leader….He’s a player who has to talk and he is constantly organizing and that’s the kind of player I thought was important for our team.”

Barillas spoke with Kitchen about his time as captain at Hearts:

“To be named captain is always a huge honor and I definitely learned from the role. Someone who has to lead the team day in and day out is a tough role but a role I enjoy. You have a lot of responsibility and it would be nice to captain a team again someday.”

Joining a top Scottish side and given the captain’s armband less than a year at the club shows Kitchen’s leadership qualities and he will be valuable in the Galaxy’s pursuit for a sixth MLS title in 2018.

*All quotes obtained in each video.

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Cameron Milledge

Staff Writer at LA Soccer Nation
Full-Time Staff Writer for LA Soccer Nation, covering LA Galaxy, Galaxy II, LAFC, and Orange County SC

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Full-Time Staff Writer for LA Soccer Nation, covering LA Galaxy, Galaxy II, LAFC, and Orange County SC Contact:


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