Maya Yoshida believes LA Galaxy are the 'right club' at this point in his career

  • Yoshida signed for Galaxy on a free transfer from Schalke 04
  • Experienced defender spent time in England, Italy and Germany
  • 34-year-old joins LA on a deal through 2024 season

Maya Yoshida is excited for his new challenge with LA Galaxy
Maya Yoshida is excited for his new challenge with LA Galaxy / Dean Mouhtaropoulos/GettyImages

After playing all across Europe, the Japan international center-back decided it was time for a change, choosing to join the most successful MLS side in LA Galaxy - which he firmly believes was the right choice at this stage in his extensive career.

The experienced defender that played for Southampton in England, Sampdoria in Italy, and Schalke 04 in Germany has now made the switch to play in the US for one of the league's biggest clubs. Not only that, but Yoshida could prove to be a mentor for the young Jalen Neal, who has shown so much potential at just 19-years-old.

"It's quite a young squad, and I'm a bit experienced maybe. So of course, that's what the club wants," Yoshida said in his first press conference at his new club.

"And after I spoke with the coach, that's what he wants from me, which I appreciate. And of course, this role is my favorite in other clubs and the international team as well. ... But first of all, I have to play well. Otherwise, I can't convince anyone."

The role that Yoshida referred to is not only being a top-quality defender, but also playing a key part in building out from the back and dominating games with possession - something that the 34-year-old relishes.

"That [style of play] is my favorite, to be honest. It's totally different from the German mentality, and I prefer it more. Not criticizing the German football, but this is more football. It's soccer," Yoshida said.

“This is more my style – and the national team, Italy or Premier League, I play like this a lot. So I’m really happy for that," he added.

Yoshida explained that he was impressed with LA's facilities upon signing for the Western Conference team:

"I came here to see the facilities, stadium and the top organization from the club staff," he said. "I really appreciate what they have done so far. It's really different. To be honest, it's much better than the last two clubs [Schalke 04 in the Bundesliga and Sampdoria in Serie A]."

The veteran center-back also compared his new club's direction and vision to some of the more well-known clubs in the game.

"It's very similar to Premier League club ... and that kind of organization means this is the right club, right decision, right direction," Yoshida stated.

"Unfortunately, now they [LA Galaxy] have done not so well this season. So we need to get back in the track as soon as possible, especially this season. At least we need to go to the playoffs. That's the target for this season. And the next season, of course, we have to be more ambitious for sure."

Yoshida and LA have plenty of work to do if they are to turn their season around as they sit in 13th place in the Western Conference standings with 22 points and are seven points from a playoff spot. The Gs are back in action on August 20 when they welcome Real Salt Lake to Dignity Health Sports Park.

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