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This is the Los Angeles Galaxy: Donovan Ricketts

Jo-Ryan SalazarSenior Analyst IApril 25, 2010

CARSON, CA - APRIL 17:  Goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts #1 of the Los Angeles Galaxy warms up prior to their MLS match against Real Salt Lake at the Home Depot Center on April 17, 2010 in Carson, California. The Galaxy defeated Real Salt Lake 2-1.  (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

This is Part Three in a series of articles on the players that make up the 2010 Los Angeles Galaxy.


He moves to his left, and moves to his right like a man whose only basis behind this rationale is pure intuition without compromise. A leap. A punch of a leather sphere. Another leap, and he grabs the same sphere with his gloves, stuck to his human paws as if they were attached with glue.

Now he rolls, and scoops the sphere while waving a throng of 21 other players away before giving it an ambitious kick into the opposing half like a missile shot from the goalposts.

It's all part of another shutout performance from Los Angeles Galaxy goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts. The date is April 24, 2010. The venue is CommunityAmerica Ballpark in Kansas City, Kansas.

The performance? Just what you would expect out of the current Big Cat in front of the net. In the beginning, it was Jorge Campos who became the first great goalkeeper for Los Angeles. Then it was Kevin Hartman, who mesmerized the home crowd at the Rose Bowl and the Home Depot Center.

Now, it's Ricketts and his ability that have helped the Galaxy reclaim their dominance defensively in Major League Soccer.

Donovan Ricketts was born on June 7, 1977 in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Immortalized in the Bobby Bloom song of the same name, Montego Bay is recognized as a popular resort town, along with Kingston, Spanish Town, and Negril. Among the notable residents of Montego Bay include Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Jimmy Cliff, who will be inducted this year.

Ricketts began his footballing career in 1990, when he attended Cornwall College, a secondary school in the city. As a member of the DaCosta Cup side for Cornwall, his goalkeeping prowess earned him a spot on the Jamaica Under-20 and Under-23 Olympic teams while earning his Bachelor's degree from the University of the West Indies in the Kingston suburb of Mona.

Since his appearance for the youth national teams, Ricketts has been a mainstay for the Reggae Boyz, earning 83 caps while earning a leadership role as team vice-captain.

Outside of work at The Office (the nickname for Kingston's National Stadium at Independence Park), Ricketts began his club career as a member of the Wadadah Football Club from 1994-1997. Later on, after Ricketts completed his education, he was the goalkeeper for Digicel Premier League side Village United from 2002-2004.

When Ricketts made the jump to England that year, he originally was slated to play for Bolton Wanderers. It never happened. Instead, Ricketts started in goal for the Bantams of Bradford City.

Ricketts began his career with Bradford as an understudy to Australia's Paul Henderson. He would make his debut in April 2005, finishing the rest of that season. The manager at the time, Colin Todd, was pleased with Ricketts' form that he decided to give him a two-year deal.

After a broken foot injury and a suspension in December 2005 for a goal celebration, Ricketts played 80 straight league games. He never missed a single match during the 2006-07 season.

In October 2007, Ricketts was dropped from the starting XI after showing poor form. He would start 13 more matches for the Bantams before released by new manager Stuart McCall at the end of the season. For Ricketts, it was a year that not only saw poor form, but chronic work permit problems. Ricketts finished his career at Bradford City with 104 appearances in goal for the Bantams.

It's not easy being the vice-captain of a national team whose only glory days came during the Rene Simoes era of 1998, when Jamaica last qualified for the FIFA World Cup. The balance of committing equal amounts of time to both club and country was a learning experience for Ricketts, an experience that continues to this day.

After an unsuccessful return stint with Village United in 2008-managing just five appearances with his old team-the Los Angeles Galaxy signed Ricketts on December 23, 2008.

It almost was a signing for Toronto FC. However, the advice of Tyrone Marshall—who had already won an MLS Cup with Los Angeles in 2005 and was a teammate of Ricketts during Jamaica's failed 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign—was too hard to pass up.

In his first season with the Galaxy, Ricketts was a beast. He helped lead LA to the MLS Western Conference title. In 26 appearances, Ricketts made 82 saves and recorded nine clean sheets for a 1.03 goals against average.

However, he was unable to finish the season. An injury midway through the MLS Cup final against Real Salt Lake saw him watch from the bench the Galaxy lose on penalties.

Now, with four shutouts and counting to his name in 2010 to go with a 0.25 through the end of April, Donovan Ricketts is looking to redeem himself for the inability to pounce on some unfinished business.

The Big Cat from Montego Bay is on the prowl at Victoria Street. Look out.

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