All White Andrew Boyens is now part of the Galaxy - and he gets to train and play beside the biggest star.

Boyens, 28, signed with the Los Angeles Galaxy before Christmas and recently started pre-season training with the Major League Soccer defending champions.

He joins a star-studded team which will eventually welcome back American talisman Landon Donovan, on loan at Everton, and Irish striker Robbie Keane, on loan at Aston Villa.

But those two players do not bask in quite the same global spotlight as the Galaxy's English veteran, the bloke called David Beckham.


Boyens has met the former Manchester United and Real Madrid superstar, and said Beckham was - almost - just like any other teammate.

"He's a great guy but, more importantly, he's still a quality player and a hard worker,'' Boyens told the Otago Daily Times in an email. "It's easy to see how he's had such a successful career.''

Boyens began his MLS career with Toronto FC after being selected in the first round of the draft out of the University of New Mexico. He played for Toronto in the Canadian club's inaugural season and then joined New York, where he spent three seasons with the Red Bulls.

A season with Chivas USA followed, before the Galaxy became Boyens' fourth professional club.

"It's a bit complicated how it all came about but, basically, when it looked like I wasn't going to continue on with Chivas USA, the Galaxy got in touch with me and asked if I was interested in joining them.

"I said I was and they picked me up through what is called the re-entry draft.''

The re-entry draft covers players with a certain amount of MLS experience who are coming off contract.

Boyens comes into a good situation, with a popular and successful club. He may also be in line for serious game time as Omar Gonzalez, the Galaxy's MLS defender of the year, is sidelined with a torn ACL.


Boyens also hopes to play for the All Whites against Jamaica in Auckland on February 29.

"I always make myself available for the All Whites and I'm hoping when the squad is named, my name is included.''

Boyens was back in Otago over the summer, running his Andy Boyens Football Coaching camps for the fourth season when he worked with 400 young players in Dunedin (two camps), Oamaru, Queenstown, Wanaka and Timaru.

Boyens also watched Otago United and Phoenix games at the Forsyth Barr Stadium, and is hopeful of one day wearing the white strip in his home town.

"I hope there is an All Whites game there at some stage because Dunedin hasn't had one in a while and, with a facility like that, I believe it would be a huge success.

"Also, from looking at it, it is probably one of the best surfaces in New Zealand. I'd love to get out there and play some football on it.''


Outside football, Boyens and wife Claire are enjoying being parents for the first time. Three-month-old daughter Harrier is "just awesome'', and the proud father was delighted to show her off to friends and family in New Zealand.

"Being a dad is challenging but there are so many more rewards than challenges. I absolutely love it.''