The Webster Dictionary defines culture as “the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization.”
On the day the Los Angeles Galaxy announced Greg Vanney as head coach, the front office claimed the new coach was a man that was focused on building a culture that would serve as the foundation of the club.
Vanney echoed that by claiming in his first statement for the team that he was ready to work tirelessly for the club and fans.
Galaxy fans can be forgiven if they were skeptical of the well-intentioned but often heard assurances that usually followed a new coach’s signing. And with three different coaches the previous three years that usually “assured” the fan base something similar, it’s easy to understand why.
Four weeks into the MLS season, it’s getting hard to doubt Vanney or be skeptical about the Galaxy anymore. Saturday’s 2-1 El Tráfico win over the crosstown rivals showed once again that the Galaxy is taking Vanney’s lessons to heart and finding success because of it.
The win was pure resilience, passion, graft, and teammates working hard for each other to ensure an important victory.
When he was hired, Vanney spoke about trying to replicate the same culture he and his ‘96 teammates shared, which he defines as “a group of guys who each understand and have a purpose in trying to help this team to be a championship contender.”
You could see examples of the shared purpose in how the tackles came in hard, like the two crunching textbook examples Julian Araujo produced in the first half.
To find the YouTube how-to video on how to tackle, look no further than Derrick Williams’ beauty of a sliding challenge that led to Chicharito’s goal to put the Galaxy ahead early.
— Timmy ?? (@spicytaco118) May 9, 2021
The team also deserves praise for the way they pressed the ball, like the dizzying pestering by Cam Dunbar, the unsung hero of Jona Dos Santos’ game-winning goal.
The way the team celebrated Dos Santos’ goal together with genuine euphoria shows a team where something special is being learned and taking hold.
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) May 9, 2021
“The change in culture, new coach, and a little bit of everything,” midfielder Jonathan Dos Santos said. “I can tell you personally; this is the first time I feel these vibes in the locker room. We feel like a family, brothers. I feel like I know my teammates a lot more.”
Anybody could see how much it meant to the players to get the win and confirm that Los Angeles would remain blue, white, and gold.
The amount of emotion on Captain Jona Dos Santos’ face as he hugged Chicharito at full time isn’t something that can be easily faked.
And while results on the field are paramount, it is also important to keep laying the culture that Vanney and the club keep speaking about.
The day after the El Tráfico, the players bonded over a bike ride that replaced at least a portion of the normal training and recovery session.
Vanney made sure to credit the fans as well for the win.
“When guys wanted to be tired, the fans were pushing them – they’re cheering, and they wanted to see it. So for me, it’s a culture win, and that includes our fans, which are part of our culture and part of our family and who we are, and I think they were a huge part of that today in helping our guys just dig a little deeper.”
Featured Image: Los Angeles Galaxy