March 5, 2013 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Los Angeles Galaxy
CARSON, Calif. - Chandler Hoffman is looking to get a fresh start in an all too familiar place.
The 13th overall selection in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft joined the LA Galaxy last week in a deal that sent him back to Southern California in exchange for a conditional 2014 MLS SuperDraft selection.
Last season, the forward out of UCLA struggled to find time with the Union in his first season with the club, but he joins a Galaxy team that he is quite familiar with. Hoffman trained with the club for two summers following his freshman and sophomore years with UCLA and he believes that understanding will only help him as he adapts to a new opportunity.
"I had an honest conversation with [Union head coach John] Hackworth and felt where I stood on the team and we both thought it would be in the best interest of the team if the move me," said Hoffman, who scored 29 goals in three years at UCLA. "Obviously, I knew Bruce from training here and playing at UCLA. It's an incredible opportunity here with more matches with Champions League and learning from Robbie, then Landon when he comes back, and obviously being in a great environment so I'm excited about the opportunity.
The situation in Philadelphia was hardly a pleasant one for Hoffman, who was reduced to a reserve role in his rookie season. Hoffman made just seven appearances with the first team coupled with nine appearances in Reserve League play.
The 22-year-old's greatest contribution came in a friendly match against German-club Schalke 04 when he scored the game -winning goal for the Union in a 2-1 victory on May 9 at PPL Park.
"This is [Hackworth's] first full season so he brought in Conor Casey and Sebastian Le Toux, which is two big signings for him and that, was the direction that he wanted to go in," said Hoffman."Then with Jack [McInerney] and the year he had then Antone [Hoppenot] off the bench, it was hard to see where I fit in the picture. So we felt this was a great opportunity for me to progress in my career and get a fresh start out of here. "
Hoffman joins a Galaxy team with a loaded UCLA contingent, who each played with Hoffman during their time in Westwood. The 22-year-old forward played alongside Brian Perk and Michael Stephens during their senior seasons when he was just a freshman. But he would become a leader of Bruins alongside Rowe, who served as the goalkeeper for the UCLA side that went to the College Cup semifinal in 2011.
The young striker believes that "sense of familiarity" will only help him adapt and his college teammate Rowe certainly agrees.
""It'll be great. He has a knack for the goal and he gets into good spots so with good players like Robbie [Keane], once Gyasi [Zardes] gets back, he'll be a good threat," said Rowe. "He considers L.A. to be his second home after going to UCLA and I think he'll be happy and motivated to do well...He's always one to stay late and put in the time to do work and improve himself. He's one that always wants to keep learning," Rowe added. "It'll be a good personality to have around the locker room."
With a fresh start on the horizon and the troubles in Philadelphia behind him, Hoffman is eager for a new beginning with the Galaxy.
"It was good to have confidence that I can score goals at this level [last season]," said Hoffman. "Now I'm looking to do so in meaningful games whether it's CONCACAF or Open Cup or MLS. I think there will be more chances to do what I do."