L.A. Galaxy Players Embrace Opportunity to Team with Gerrard, Dos Santos

Matt Ladson@mattladsonFeatured ColumnistJuly 17, 2015

Steven Gerrard with the Adidas Ace boots.
Steven Gerrard with the Adidas Ace boots.Credit: Adidas

LOS ANGELES — Steven Gerrard was on hand at an event this week in L.A. to help launch Adidas' new boots. Celebrity status was afforded to the 35-year-old, who will make his MLS bow in the Los Angeles Galaxy's game against the San Jose Earthquakes on Friday.

"It's great to be here. [L.A. is] a fantastic place to live and work," he said as he took photos with excited fans who had had their skills judged by the Liverpool great as part of the festivities.

Looking relaxed, Gerrard is fitting in to L.A. life, and his teammates are enjoying having him around. Bleacher Report spoke to the Galaxy's Mika Vayrynen and Oscar Sorto to get their thoughts on their most famous new teammate and the MLS game.

As a 20-year-old American from Los Angeles, Sorto is in awe of the former England captain: "I feel like bringing these players to our club is going to help all our players from Galaxy develop and learn. That's what I'm looking forward to, to learn from Gerrard [and new signing Giovani] Dos Santos."

"When I first saw him [Gerrard] in training, I was just thinking, this guy is amazing, his touch is so simple," he said. "He's one of the players that I used to look up to [as a kid]."

Eduardo Verdugo/Associated Press
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Gerrard is to be joined by another designated player in L.A., former Tottenham Hotspur forward Dos Santos of Mexico, whose arrival from Spanish side Villarreal was confirmed on Wednesday.

Adding a player of such quality will not only help the team on the field but also help the Galaxy attract Latino soccer fans familiar with him.

"Dos Santos is in his prime," said Vayrynen, a midfielder. "He's only 26 years old, it's like [Sebastian] Giovinco [of Toronto FC]—you get a big name here in the peak of their career.

"It's a very exciting signing for Galaxy and the league itself. He's a very good player, a Mexican superstar, he's going to bring more firepower for us for sure."

Mika Vayrynen and Oscar Sorto.
Mika Vayrynen and Oscar Sorto.Credit: Adidas

Former Finnish international Vayrynen joined the Galaxy earlier this year after playing most of his career in the Netherlands, so he's in a position to judge how MLS stacks up against European leagues.

"It's very difficult to compare. Here is more based on physicality and running. In Europe and in Holland, it's more based on technical skills and passing," he said. "It's [MLS] a tough league to come into. It's a totally different kind of league, it takes time to settle, but it's a good league."

"Every player [on the Galaxy] is so friendly and social," Vayrynen added. "In L.A., obviously, there's a lot of things to do, which helps."

The Galaxy players spoke at an Adidas event to celebrate a new era in the company's array of boots, featuring the "X" and the "Ace," instead of the "Predator."

In ending the iconic Predator line of boots, Adidas have certainly made a huge change—one that traditional football fans were surprised to learn of when the German manufacturer unveiled its plans back in May.

The concept is that the X appeals to the player who plays on the edge: It was first worn by Luis Suarez in the UEFA Champions League Final in May. The Ace is relatively reserved in design, featuring more black to cover the overall neon yellow look—and looking more like the traditional Predator design. It's the boot of choice for Gerrard.

As a player who grew up in the 1990s, Vayrynen was around when Adidas first introduced the Predator boot.

Everyone loved Predators in the '90s, including Paul Gascoigne, shown in 1995.
Everyone loved Predators in the '90s, including Paul Gascoigne, shown in 1995.MAX NASH/Associated Press/Associated Press

"It's a big change for Adidas," he said. "They had the Predator for many, many years, but I find the X very good. I use the leather version."

For Adidas, having players like Gerrard and David Villawho plays for New York Citycome over to MLS is a dream. 

"To have Gerrard wearing the new Ace product, it's perfect," said Adidas' Peter Hong, senior merchandise manager for soccer footwear in the U.S. "And to have him in L.A., a great urban MLS market, we're thrilled."

It seems that the Ace is the pros' boot of choice so far, with Gerrard, Real Madrid's James Rodriguez and Chelsea's Oscar all opting for the design that is, as Hong put it, "for the player who doesn't want to stand out quite so much but still wants to have a little bit of swagger."

All quotes obtained firsthand.

Bleacher Report attended this event under the auspices of Adidas' #bethedifference campaign, signaling the new direction of their soccer division and new cleats.