Former Hearts captain Perry Kitchen seals LA Galaxy switch

Perry Kitchen in action for Hearts against FC Infonet Tallinn in June 2016. Picture: Getty Images
Perry Kitchen in action for Hearts against FC Infonet Tallinn in June 2016. Picture: Getty Images
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Perry Kitchen, the former Hearts captain, has agreed a transfer to LA Galaxy, after the Californian side acquired the midfielder’s MLS rights from former club DC United.

The 25-year-old, who joined Danish Superliga side Randers in July 2017, admitted the chance to join the Galaxy was ‘a good opportunity that I couldn’t pass up’.

Kitchen, who won plaudits for his performances for DC United prior to his move to Scotland, has vowed to help the Galaxy get ‘back to winning ways’ after a disappointing 2017 season that saw the side endure their worst ever finish as they placed joint last in the MLS.

Speaking to LA Galaxy’s website, Kitchen said: “It’s certainly a challenge.

“Bad seasons are possible, and there are times when you look at the squad and can’t understand why you’re not getting results. The important thing is to brush it off and respond. We want to go back to winning ways, and that’s what I hope we can do this year.”

Despite spending less than six months in Scandinavia and making fewer than 20 appearances for Randers, Kitchen revealed that he was tempted by a return to ‘familiar surroundings’.

Kitchen challenges New Zealand's Clayton Lewis during a friendly at the RFK Stadium in Washington DC. Picture: Getty images

Kitchen challenges New Zealand's Clayton Lewis during a friendly at the RFK Stadium in Washington DC. Picture: Getty images

“I wasn’t planning on coming to MLS, but the opportunity presented itself, and after speaking to my wife, it was something that we wanted to pursue,” he told LA Galaxy Insider.

“It’s coming back to familiar surroundings, winning matches and just enjoying football. It was a good opportunity that I couldn’t pass up, and that was definitely a driving force behind the decision.”

Indianapolis native Kitchen is well known to fans in America from his four years at the RFK Stadium in Washington DC, where he was named DC United’s Most Valuable Player of the Season in 2013 and helped the side to a third US Open Cup win the same year.

His success in the States was highlighted by LA Galaxy coach Sigi Schmid, now in his second spell managing the club, who said: “Perry has proven himself to be a top midfielder in Major League Soccer during his time with DC United.

“He has continued to progress during his time in Europe and we are confident he can bolster our midfield.

“At only 25 years old, Perry is already an MLS veteran and will be a great addition to LA Galaxy both on and off the field.”

Kitchen added: “Everyone leads in different ways. Once I get in with the guys, there will definitely be leaders. There must be, and there always is.

“For me, it’s coming in and doing my job. Not stepping on any toes from the start, but rather slowly integrating into the group and allow my true personality to come out.”

The Galaxy have made a flurry of signings in recent weeks, with Kitchen joining the likes of Ashley Cole and Baggio Husidic, along with defensive duo Rolf Feltscher and Jorgen Skjelvik, from Venezuela and Norway respectively, along with homegrown pair David Bingham and Servando Carrasco.

During his time in Edinburgh, Kitchen made 45 appearances and was handed the captain’s armband in September 2016 and gained European experience in the Europa League qualifiers against Estonian outfit Infonet Tallinn and Maltese side Birkirkara.

However, he lost the captaincy to new signing Christophe Berra in May 2017, fell out of favour under Ian Cathro and was told he could leave the club.

A regular on the international scene, Kitchen made 34 appearances at Under-17 level, eight appearances for the Under-20s and five for the Under-23s. Since 2015 he has been capped five times by the senior squad.

He could make his debut for the Galaxy on March 4, when Portland Timbers are the visitors to the StubHub Center.

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