The Galaxy’s annual offseason rebuilding process began in earnest this week when the team declined a 2014 contract option on defender Sean Franklin, then announced that former U.S. national team veteran Pablo Mastroeni has decided to retire.
Franklin, a 28-year-old defender, is among 69 Major League Soccer players who are either out of contract or who have had their options declined, making them eligible for Thursday’s re-entry draft.
Franklin played on two MLS championship teams with the Galaxy. In six seasons he played in 160 games, eighth on the Galaxy’s all-time list. He also played in 33 postseason games, joining with Omar Gonzalez, A.J. De la Garza and Todd Dunivant to form one of the league’s most steady back lines.
A four-year starter at Cal State Northridge, Franklin was the fourth overall pick in the 2008 MLS SuperDraft and was the league’s rookie of the year and the team’s defender of the year in his first season. But with Franklin due a raise from the $248,000 in guaranteed money he made last year, the Galaxy would have trouble staying under the league-mandated salary budget of $3.1 million if it brought him back.
Mastroeni, meanwhile, is ending a 16-year career spent mostly with the Colorado Rapids. A nine-time MLS All-Star, the midfielder also played in the 2002 and 2006 World Cups and in four CONCACAF Gold Cups with the United States. He also won a Supporter’s Shield with the Miami Fusion in 2001 and an MLS Cup with a Rapids team he captained in 2010.
He played in 334 MLS games, eighth-most in league history and one better than Galaxy President Chris Klein. Mastroeni, who played for Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena with the U.S. team, came to the Galaxy in a June trade and played in nine regular-season games.
“Pablo is a special player who made every team he was on better,” Arena said. “His presence, work ethic and enthusiasm for the game made him a successful player on both the club and national team level.”