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MLS Notes: Saunders trains with Galaxy, Jakovic gets late call-up and more

Saunders (Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Galaxy had a welcome sight at training on Tuesday.

Goalkeeper Josh Saunders was back in uniform and on the training field despite still being ineligible to play games for the club. Saunders said he was enrolled in the league's substance abuse and behavior health program for stress reasons — not drugs and alcohol, according to ESPN LA — and he shed a bit of light on his situation. 

"I was under some stress. I was putting myself under a lot of pressure. I just needed to step away," Saunders told reporters. "There were, obviously, a lot of stories floating around. It's unfortunate that people were taking it and blowing it out of proportion before they got a chance to talk to me.

"I was under some stress, had some family issues, wanted to deal with them on my own. We're humans. We have a life outside of soccer, and people forget that. I'm just happy to be in the state that I'm in now."

For Saunders, who was cleared to join the Galaxy for their trip to the White House last week, there is no definite timetable for his return, which is contingent on his completion of the program. Brian Perk and Bill Gaudette have split the goalkeeping duties in his absence.

Here are a couple of more items from around MLS:


For the Canadian national team, one game back for Dejan Jakovic is good enough.

The D.C. United centerback was a late addition to the Canada roster for an upcoming friendly and World Cup qualifiers after returning to action following an ankle injury layoff against Toronto FC Saturday night.

Jakovic joins teammate Dwayne De Rosario, Houston's Andre Hainault, Toronto's Julian de Guzman and Ashtone Morgan, Real Salt Lake's Will Johnson and Chivas USA's Ante Jazic as MLS players on Canada's roster for a friendly against the United States and qualifiers against Cuba and Honduras.


Donovan Ricketts will find himself in familiar territory in a couple of weeks: In between the posts for the Jamaican national team.

The Montreal Impact goalkeeper will suit up for a pair of friendlies against Panama before World Cup qualifiers against Guatemala and Antigua and Barbuda. Jamaica is in the United States' group for World Cup qualifying but won't play the Americans until consecutive matches Sept. 7 and 11, the latter of which will be played at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.


  1. Yeah, I was just thinking how everyone’s first assumption is that he’s freebasing crystal meth in the shower stalls.

    I’m not sure it should even be announced that someone is in the program at all.

  2. Jamaica’s got a good team. Not to be too presumptuous, but after the US and Mexico, I think there is a genuine debate over who are the next best two teams in the region-Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, Jamaica, heck even Canada if they ever get their act together all aren’t that far apart and while most of their squads are domestic-heavy, each has handful of guys in MLS or Europe or Mexico. To me, an ideal Hex from an entertainment standpoint(though not a ‘making it to the WC for sure’ standpoint) is the US, Mexico, Honduras, Cost Rica, Jamaica, and Canada.

  3. While I’m happy for Jakovic for his inclusion with the Canadian National Team I’m a little worried about DC’s thin backline. Hopefully some of the rest of the CB’s are nearing return.

  4. The league might want to consider renaming the program with more emphasis on “Behavioral Health” by removing the “Substance Abuse” part of it. That way, even though there will still be people jumping to conclusions when someone enrolls in it, the league isn’t giving any ground for people to base those on. Also, it’ll give players a little more privacy with their conditions or issues.

  5. Yep. However, the two are not mutually exclusive and in fact often go together. In whichever case, good on him for getting treatment.

  6. Saunders has the support of the LA faithful. Happy to hear it wasn’t booze or drugs, but depression is as serious as anything. Keep keepin’ on, Josh!

  7. I hope Saunders is finding the mental peace to recover as he involves himself in more normality oriented activities.


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