Laurent Courtois has spent a week on the other side of the StubHub Center, and he likes what he sees. He hopes the LA Galaxy feels likewise.
The former Chivas USA winger, a Frenchman whose option was declined at the end of June, trained last week with the Galaxy and played 45 minutes, nearly scoring a goal, in their 1-0 MLS Reserve League victory at Portland on Sunday.
Courtois, 34, was with the Goats for nearly two years, making 33 league appearances over three seasons and scoring three goals, including one in his final appearance, a 1-1 draw June 29 with New England. He contacted Galaxy technical director Jovan Kirovski about a trial after his release.
“I made the call, and I asked the technical director if there was a possibility for me to come on trial,” Courtois told MLSsoccer.com by phone on Monday. “After a couple of days, he told me there might be a gap where they could have a look at me, and this was really exciting, and this is what I did all last week.”
He said he “really enjoyed the sessions, and I think I did OK, too.”
Head coach Bruce Arena last week said Courtois' trial was open-ended. He was asked what he'd seen from the former Ajaccio, Toulouse, West Ham United and Levante midfielder.
“Nothing that I don’t already know,” Arena told reporters last week at training. “I've seen him for a number of years with Chivas. “He’s a good player. [What happens] remains to be seen. We'll see if this continues. It is open right now and at some point, it'll end with a determination.”
Courtois came to Chivas under Robin Fraser, and he wasn't in the plans of José Luis “Chelís” Sánchez Solá, who took charge in December and was dismissed in May.
“I understood pretty early in the season that I would be gone by the end of June, and, to be honest, probably for the best, because I kind of had the idea of trying my chance with the Galaxy,” Courtois said. “[Chivas USA] is a little bit complicated. I don't want to say too much. Things are complicated over there.
“That being said, the guys were fantastic. I probably spent a few weeks [in June] with the best locker room that I ever had. They're fantastic lads. And the staff [led by new head coach José Luis Real] that came the last three weeks, I really enjoyed the time that I spent with them, because they really appreciated me as a player, and we appreciated the staff. The last three weeks have been maybe the best I have had in my entire life at Chivas.”
Courtois came on for Colin Clark at halftime in the Reserve League game and almost immediately doubled LA's advantage, picking up a loose ball in the middle of the box and firing only to see Timbers defender Ryan Miller save it off the goal line. He hopes his performance can help him find a spot on the Galaxy's roster.
“I've been told there were a couple of teams that were interested to have a look at me,” Courtois said. “But from Day 1, my priority is Galaxy because of the organization first of all, the guys that compose the team, but also because the fact that my whole family feels fantastic in LA. This is my priority No. 1.”
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