A week after selecting him in the second stage of the MLS Re-Entry Draft, Chivas USA has signed central defender Jimmy Conrad to bring the Arcadia, California native and UCLA alum back home. Conrad has played in MLS for 12 seasons and has made 28 appearances for the United States national team, two of which came in the 2006 World Cup.
Known as one of the league's brightest and more comical players that has resulted in columns for Sports Illustrated and ESPN Soccernet, in addition to several different podcasts, Conrad is among the league's more likeable players. Naturally, he is excited about getting to play back at home with Chivas USA.
"It’s truly an honor to be part of the Chivas family. I’m excited to come to an organization with so much history behind the name," said Conrad. "I look forward to making Chivas USA fans proud on and off the field. I look forward to helping turn things around."
Conrad will join a Chivas team coming off of an abysmal season in which they finished last in the Western Conference and allowed the second-most goals in the conference. The club fired manager Martin Vasquez after the season and have yet to hire a replacement. On Thursday morning, reports indicated that former Chicago Fire and New York Red Bulls manager Juan Carlos Osorio would be hired as Chivas manager, but since then, other reports have said Osorio had not be hired and Steve Goff from the Washington Post even tweeted that his sources told him that Osorio was not even the club's first choice.
Whoever does take over as Chivas USA manager will have that benefit of an experienced central defender to help improve the club's porous defense. Conrad was named MLS Defender of the Year in 2005 and was named to the league's Best XI four times, most recently in 2008. Conrad will be 34-years-old when the 2011 MLS season starts and has never been the fleetest of foot, but he is well liked in the dressing room and a leader for a club looking for just that. Even so, the club has several more pieces that they must add to move up the table in 2011.