The LA Galaxy officially announced the re-signing of Todd Dunivant today via press release, keeping the 32 year old at the Galaxy's left fullback position for two more seasons.
"Super excited to re-sign. I feel like we still have a lot more to do here, and I'm excited to be a part of that."
No Galaxy player has appeared in more matches than Dunivant over the past five seasons, appearing in twenty-seven in 2013. Dunivant at times struggled to keep fit, with Greg Cochrane getting nine regular season spots in his place. Still in his exit interview Dunivant seemed in high spirits.
"I felt good this year as I have felt ... I feel like I've gotten stronger. I've gotten smarter as time goes on, you learn how to manage the season. Without a doubt I'm excited to be back."
He's going to have to carry that optimism through the offseason and hit the ground running in 2014. With the LA Galaxy out of the 2014-15 edition of the CONCACAF Champions League, there's even more incentive to throw everything at the March series with Club Tijuana. Being prepared for that should also mean being prepared to start off the MLS season hot.
"Champions league next year is a competition we've grown into a little bit. Tijuana's going to be a tough matchup. For us it's about starting off the season well."
This current edition of CCL is the sixth such competition, teams had to learn how to traverse the competition with runs along the international calendar and not the MLS calendar. Contracts expire mid tournament and MLS teams come back into the competition cold. LA has had more success in the tournament each year they've qualified for it, going from an early play-in exit at the hands of Puerto Rico to a semi-final loss to Monterrey.
Todd Dunivant has been with the club long enough that they know what they're getting with him. This season he saw some personnel changes with Gyasi Zardes starting in front of him and Kofi Opare starting in the central defense toward the end of the season. Knowing when to play it forward to the speedy Zardes is something that can help the club going into next season.
None of the Galaxy fullbacks from the last few seasons are particularly strong crossers, so it'll be interesting to see this offseason how Bruce Arena continues to figure out the offensive flow without David Beckham.
"This is a club that I love, and had a lot of success with. I owe a lot to this club and look forward to giving more back."
The culture in LA is one where players feel this desire to continue being a part of the system which has afforded them so many opportunities. That as much as anything could explain Arena's ability to keep the same core together for so many years despite the challenges of the salary budget.