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Hartman Receives Extension

October 25, 2003|Paul Gutierrez | Times Staff Writer

Kevin Hartman avoided a playoff run of distraction and an off-season filled with uncertainty by agreeing to a multiyear deal with Major League Soccer, a contract extension that was announced Friday.

That the seventh-year Galaxy goalkeeper will continue to ply his trade in his backyard -- Hartman grew up in the South Bay and played for two years at Cal State Dominguez Hills -- makes his sticking around that much sweeter, he said.

"It's obviously something that's been on my mind off the field quite a bit," said Hartman, who was in the last year of a contract he signed before the 2000 season. "I made it clear to [the Galaxy] and [they] made it clear to me that we wanted to get this done this year if possible just because we didn't want to have each other tied up for the off-season.

"I know between '99 and 2000 there was a bunch of traveling and going overseas ... and I didn't want to make it as difficult."

Terms were not disclosed by the Galaxy.

Hartman, 29, was close to leaving the Galaxy for Belgium after his breakout 1999 season, a year in which he set a still-standing MLS record for goals-against average of 0.91. He has impressed again this year, keeping the defending MLS Cup champions afloat in an often disappointing season.

"My first year here was when Kevin had to do his last contract and we had that whole thing of, 'Is he going to Europe? Is he coming back?' and when he went to Europe to train he actually took an injury that took forever to heal," Galaxy Coach Sigi Schmid said. "One of the goals that we had set for ourselves as an organization was to not have that situation occur again.

"I'm very happy that Kevin's going to be back. He's had a 'keeper-of-the-year season for us. He's shown himself to be the top shot-stopper in the league ... and he's been extremely consistent."

Hartman, who said he would have been as confident re-signing with the Galaxy as he would be going to Europe or Mexico, is the all-time MLS leader in GAA with a 1.13 mark. This year's GAA of 1.14 ranks fourth and he leads in minutes played (2,696), save percentage (78.1%) saves (146) and shots faced (180).

Mandela Gives Hope

South Africa's hopes of playing host to the 2010 World Cup received a boost Friday when Nelson Mandela met with FIFA officials in Switzerland.

"It would mean a great deal to get the World Cup," Mandela said. "It's going to mean that we spread the message that South Africa is part of the global world."

FIFA has pledged to stage the tournament in Africa for the first time, and South Africa is competing with Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Nigeria and Tunisia for the right. The host will be announced in May.

Quick Passes

English newspaper the Mirror reported that testing on Premier League players for the drug THG, a previously undetectable anabolic steroid, would begin soon.... The Times of London reported that former Aston Villa manager John Gregory has been approached about the Northern Ireland job.


Times wire services contributed to this report.

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