LA Galaxy: Josh Saunders in Rehab; Return Unknown

After being left off the game-day roster in this past weekend’s 1-1 tie with FC Dallas due to “personal reasons,” it was revealed yesterday that Los Angeles Galaxy netminder Josh Saunders has been enrolled in Major League Soccer’s substance abuse and behavioral health program.

The team asserts that Saunders has not failed a league-administered drug test but has declined to provide more information.

Saunders, a long-time backup throughout his career, helped lead Los Angeles to the 2011 MLS Cup title, taking over at midseason for regular starter Donovan Ricketts after the latter became injured.  Ricketts saw sparse game time for the remainder of the season.  Saunders was rewarded the permanent starter position a week after winning the Cup, with Ricketts traded to Montreal.

Galaxy started former Puerto Rico Islander Bill Gaudette on Saturday and he is expected to start again this evening in Seattle.  Brian Perk, Saunders’ original backup, returned to the roster on Saturday – as Gaudette’s backup.  It was Perk’s first roster selection upon recovering from injury.

A small note from this writer: As much as we love our sport, and as much as many of us live, eat, breathe and bleed for our teams, and as much as we evangelize the awesomeness of our leagues, our national teams, and the men and women who play for them, at the end of the day, it bears reminding that this is just a game.  And those who play it are merely human beings.  They are not machines. They are not perfect. They are not without fault.

On occasions as these, we as fans are reminded of our heroes’ fallibility.  Of their humanity. And upon those occasions, the best amongst us stop caring about the players that make the team and start caring about the people that make the team.

To Josh Saunders: The gay4soccer community wishes you a thorough recovery.  Off the field, we are all rooting for you.

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