A story emerged from the first week of training camp this year that Chelís wasn't very impressed with having a Frenchman on his squad. Then he found out said Frenchman knew Spanish, and that player's status was safe.
It was safe for a time, anyway. Laurent Courtois entered the 2013 season and ended up being among the handful of players on the Chivas USA roster with any kind of MLS experience. He started the first game of the season playing in a different position than what we were used to him being in with the Goats, and only made a handful of appearances.
Given his age, it is perhaps unsurprising that Courtois didn't get a ton of minutes with Chivas during the season. Still, he didn't end up getting many minutes at all, and considering the struggles this team had, it seemed like the 35-year-old was largely wasted.
Here are Courtois' stats with Chivas in 2013:
|Games Played||Games Started||Minutes||Goals||Assists||Shots||SOG||Yellow Cards||Red Cards|
|MLS Regular Season||5||3||265||1||0||11||3||0||0|
|U.S. Open Cup||1||0||68||0||0||0||0||1||0|
So if you just look at the stats, you see a player who seldom played, and who only contributed a goal. But what's missing from that breakdown was how everything went down at the end of Courtois' tenure with Chivas. Getting the start June 29 already knowing he was out the door, Courtois scored his lone goal of the season, then after the game dropped the mic on twitter, so to speak, by telling everybody he was being waived. On one hand, good on Chivas for giving him one last game, but it looked like a cold (and kind of stupid) move for a team that was desperate for goals at that point.
I assume management looked at Courtois' age, his salary (listed as $132,000 base and guaranteed while with Chivas this year) and figured it was better to cut him loose before they would have to pay him his full salary. It's a business, etc.
But he immediately went on trial to the LA Galaxy, and was signed by them for the remainder of the season. In looking at his stats, Courtois only played 83 minutes in the league for the Galaxy, all in appearances coming off the bench (he did also play in CONCACAF Champions League for them), so it wasn't like he became a key player for them. But Bruce Arena picked up on the fact that Courtois still had qualities that could prove useful in MLS: experience, a burst of energy at the end of games, ability to play a two-way game on the flank. Chivas? It seemed like they just didn't want to pay the guy, and without a ready replacement, the move to waive him midseason seemed pretty premature, really.
Despite going to the Galaxy and getting some game time after leaving Chivas, Courtois is out of contract again and is going into the Re-Entry process. It will be interesting to see if any MLS side takes him in either stage of the Re-Entry draft, if he will become a free agent and then sign a deal, either in MLS or elsewhere, or if he perhaps retires and turns to coaching.
It appears Courtois has had an eye on his post-playing days for some time, and if this is the end of the line for him, it looks like he has some options ahead of him. He may not have been a player who one could build a team around in 2013, but he was also a class act with Chivas, interacted better than any other player with fans on social media, and showed everyone in Chivatown what they would be missing when he scored that goal in his last game as a Goat.
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