At the start of the 2011 MLS offseason, Chivas USA were in need of defenders. The Goats had conceded 45 goals during the 2010 season – good for second worst in the Western Conference – and were oft criticized for their lack of a resolute backline. Enter Jimmy Conrad.
The Red-and-White picked up the 12-year MLS veteran in Phase Two of the Re- Entry Draft and instantly took a huge step forward toward getting the team back to where its leadership wants it to be. Last year was the first since the Goats’ inaugural season in which the team didn’t make the postseason.
"The first is to get into the Playoffs," Conrad said shortly after signing with Chivas USA. "My main goal is that, in the course of my contract, to make this a successful team around the league, on and off the field, and making a difference in the community. I want to make sure that everybody is happy to be part of the Chivas USA family, like I am."
A move away from the Kanas City Wizards reportedly caught the 34-year-old a little off-guard, but he was admittedly excited to be retuning to his native Southern California. Conrad was born in Arcadia, Calif. and played his college ball at San Diego State and UCLA.
"This is where I’m from; born and raised in Southern California," he said. "To be able to wear the Red-and-White means a lot. It’s great to be able to play in front of my friends and family, in front of Chivas fans. I look forward to make them proud on and off the field. I look forward to turn things around."
Conrad had everything the Goats are looking for in a defender: intelligence, resilience, and perhaps most importantly, experience. Chivas USA were one of the youngest teams in the league last season and many argued that their immaturity cost the squad several last-minute results. Conrad’s leadership and expertise will be a welcome addition.
"Jimmy is a talented, experienced defender who can give this organization a lot both on the field and in the locker room," said Chivas USA Interim General Manager Jose Domene. "We’re hopeful that we can agree to a new contract for him and that he’ll play an important role for the Red-and-White in 2011."
Time will tell if Conrad’s acquisition will pay dividends for Chivas USA, but one thing is certain; the Goats backline looks a lot more imposing with him on it.
- Report by Jeffrey King of The Goat Parade (upcoming SBN Chivas USA blog)