Kennedy comes 'full circle' with move to Galaxy

The Galaxy’s goalkeeping woes in the aftermath of Jaime Penedo’s contentious midseason departure weren’t a surprise, nor is the move it has made to find a long-term solution.

On Tuesday, it announced the acquisition of Southern California native and former Chivas USA keeper Dan Kennedy from FC Dallas in exchange for the Galaxy’s second- and third-round SuperDraft selections in 2017. Kennedy, 33, has played 160 MLS games and registered 33 shutouts since starting his league career with Chivas USA in 2008.

“I grew up on the LA Galaxy watching Kevin Hartman make big saves for the club,” he told LAGalaxy.com. "I watched them win championships as a kid and I watched them win championships playing against them."

Kennedy, who was born in Fullerton, California, and played at UC Santa Barbara, started his pro career with Puerto Rico Islanders of the USL in 2005 and won Rookie of the Year honors. He played one season in Chile with Municipal  Iquique before moving to Chivas USA on a transfer.

At Chivas USA, he played only 16 games in his first three seasons (a knee injury sidelined him for the entire 2009 season) prior to taking as the full-time starter in 2011. In the next four seasons, he played 144 games, registered 28 shutouts and made 451 saves playing on some very poor teams.

FC Dallas took him in a dispersal draft year ago after MLS shut down Chivas USA. For FCD in 2015 he played 16 games, made 30 saves, and posted a 1.19 goals-allowed average, and his departure seemed inevitable when head coach Oscar Pareja decided to install 20-year-old Jesse Gonzalez as the starter and use Chris Seitz as his backup.

“Dan is a very good player and proven goalkeeper in our league,” said Galaxy head coach and general manager Bruce Arena in a statement. “He will be a strong addition to our team both on and off the field. We look forward to him joining our roster ahead of the upcoming season.”

In the wake of Penedo leaving in a contract dispute, the Galaxy acquired one of its former keepers, Donovan Ricketts, from Orlando City SC in late July. Ricketts, 38, was a little rickety in many games; he earned just one shutout and conceded 18 goals (1.64 GAA) in 11 appearances.



Kennedy is certainly back in familiar territory. He attended Galaxy games while growing up and played at StubHub Center for UCSB in the 2004 Men’s College Cup finals as well as for Chivas USA. Once he shakes a tendency to head for the old Chivas USA offices or the wrong locker room, he should feel right at home. He’s also joining an organization that has captured three of the last five MLS Cup titles.

“It will be a little strange and a little unique,” he told LAGalaxy.com. “It will still be a home field for me, just a different history to the organization."

Unfortunately, for Kennedy, he took over as Chivas USA starter just as the team started its slide toward eventual dissolution. It didn’t make the playoffs in any of his four seasons as a starter yet his dogged determination earned him respect as well as an All-Star selection in 2012. Now his career has taken him to the team he’s known the best since his teen years.

 “It feels right. It feels like the right move, and I think I’m at a point in my career where I have a lot left,” he says. “I’m motivated and excited to make the most of this opportunity. It does feel like a full circle.”

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