The Los Angeles Galaxy have signed veteran Tony Sanneh to anchor their defense. The 37-year-old has won two Major League Soccer Cups with D.C. United, and is reunited with boss Bruce Arena, who coached United when the team won those two cups.
"We are pleased to be able to add a proven defender such as Tony," Galaxy general manager and head coach Arena said. "He is an experienced player who has played at the highest level in the game and knows what it takes to win the MLS Cup. He will contribute to our team immediately both on and off the field of play".
Sanneh has spent preseason with the club, and started both its Pan Pacific Championship games in the middle of defense. He's expected to partner 20-year-old Omar Gonzalez in the opener against former club D.C.
A former U.S. international, Sanneh has also had a productive career in Europe, having suited up for Hertha Berlin and FC Nurnberg. He returned to MLS in 2004, and has played for the Columbus Crew, the Chicago Fire, and the Colorado Rapids since then. He sat out the 2008 season, and is working his way back to full fitness.
"I knew that I still had the ability and desire to play the game, I just had to see if my body would hold up after the time off, but I’ve been happy with my progress throughout the preseason," Sanneh said. "I can’t thank Bruce and all the coaches enough for giving me this opportunity and I look forward to making my Galaxy debut on Sunday against my former club, D.C. United."
Goal.com spoke to the defender ahead of the season opener, and asked him how he stayed motivated even in his later years.
"You're going to play anyways," he explained, "the only difference is now you're getting payed for it and you're doing it at a high level. It's really not difficult to find the desire to play.
"I want to play as long as I don't feel that it's affecting me long term health-wise. I want to keep playing as long as I can compete at a high level. If I can compete at a high level and it's not affecting my long term health, then I'll keep playing."
The Galaxy's opener is against DC United in the Home Depot Center on Sunday.
Zac Lee Rigg, Goal.com