Former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard admits he turned down a “couple of nice opportunities” to move to a club in Europe in order to pursue a new challenge with the Los Angeles Galaxy.
The 35-year-old midfielder is set to be presented to his new club’s fans at half-time of Saturday’s Major League Soccer game against Toronto.
He will then publicly don Galaxy kit for the first time in an open training session on Tuesday ahead of a press conference, with his debut pencilled in for July 17 at home to San Jose Earthquakes.
Former England captain Gerrard is looking forward to a fresh start after admitting he wanted a new challenge.
“I had some nice opportunities around Europe,” he told Galaxy TV.
“But I wanted a completely fresh challenge, to come out of my comfort zone, live away from home and get a different life experience and choose a place where my family can enjoy themselves and settle.
“When I retire from football in a few years time I want to say I did try something different and didn’t stay in the same place – although I loved every minute of it.”
Gerrard has had to counter accusations he will have an easy life in MLS having played so long in the Premier League, but he is determined not to allow his personal standards to slip.
“I’ve been working really hard alone to make sure my physical condition is still good and to make sure I still have my strength because when I turn up at Los Angeles I want to be ready to go,” he said.
“I don’t want any excuses that I need weeks or a month to get fitness, I’m trying to keep that level so I’m in good condition when I arrive.
“I like to give 100 per cent, work as hard as I can, I don’t like losing, so I’ll do everything I can to try to win football matches.
“I’m a team player, I’m no individual, I never think about myself – it’s all about the team and what I can bring to the team to help us win.”