Robbie Keane named LA Galaxy captain

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MLS Preview: Los Angeles Galaxy - San Jose Earthquakes

When Landon Donovan returns to the Los Angeles Galaxy, he'll be answering to another Designated Player on the field.

Robbie Keane was named Galaxy captain for 2013 by coach Bruce Arena on Wednesday, inheriting the duties that were typically reserved for Donovan. With the American star on hiatus until late next month, Arena has turned to Keane, who captains the Irish national team as well. Even when Donovan returns, he'll take to the field without the captain's armband for the first time since 2008, when David Beckham was handling the honor.

"Robbie Keane will be our captain to start the season, and he will be our captain this season," Arena told reporters during the unveiling of the club's second uniform. "(Keane is) a fabulous choice as captain. He's a quality player, he's a quality leader, so Robbie's prepared to lead this team."

Keane capped his first full season in MLS with Best XI honors, scoring 16 goals and contributing nine assists in helping the Galaxy to their second straight MLS Cup. The 32-year-old Irishman signed a multi-year contract extension in January that cemented his place at the Home Depot Center for the foreseeable future, and he eschewed going on loan to interested Premier League clubs this winter in order to rest and recover from minor injuries.

Keane and the Galaxy open the MLS season at home when they host the Chicago Fire on Sunday. Donovan, meanwhile, is expected to return to training in late March following the conclusion of his self-imposed break and should return to game action soon after.

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