By Ray Alley
The Los Angeles Galaxy is Jack McIrnerny’s fifth professional team, sixth if you count a one-game loan to the Harrisburg City Islanders in 2010.
The Galaxy became his fifth Major League Soccer team after being signed off waivers from the Portland Timers, where he made 24 appearances last year, scoring a half dozen goals.
Job-related moves are not uncommon in McIrnerny’s family. Born in Chattanooga, Tn. 24 years ago, the family moved to Colorado, Illinois. California, and finally Florida before settling in Alpharetta, Ga., before he entered the third grade.
At the tender age of 14 he was selected for the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team training program in Bradenton, Fla. From 2008-2009 he was the team’s go-to forward, scoring 11 goals in 15 international games.
By his senior year at Bradenton Prep High School two things he was certain of were his determination to be a professional player and that he wasn’t going to jump start that career by going to college.
In 2010 he was drafted by the Philadelphia Union, taken in the first round, #7 overall. He would play 95 games with the Union before being traded to the Montreal Impact four games into the 2014 season. He scored 25 goals, 13 of which came in the 2013 season.
By 2013 he had gone through the ups and downs of a young professional. It did not help that his head coach was Peter Nowak, who years earlier had failed to develop the talent of another teenager at D.C. United, Freddy Adu. McIrnerney’s career took an upward turn when John Hackworth, his U17 MNT coach, replaced Nowak as the Philly head coach.
He began 2013 scoring goals and by the end of May had a share of the league goals scored league with 10. Jurgen Klinsmann called him up for the CONCACAF Gold Cup, but released him back to Philadelphia when the team advanced out of group play. McIrnerny didn’t make an appearance, but it was his first callup, and he got exposed the senior national team training.
But when he returned to the Union the scoring magic was gone. He would only score three more times the rest of the season. He wasn’t initially selected to the MLS All-Star team, despite being named MLS Player of the Month early in the season. He was later named to the squad as a replacement, but coach Peter Vermes for NY Red Bulls midfielder Tim Cahill.
With the Impact he scored three goals and captured the Canadian Championship golden boot as Montreal won the Canadian title.
He was traded to the Columbus Crew in 2015, played five games and scored two goals. In 2016 he went to Portland, where he played 24 games for the Timbers with six goals.
With the Galaxy he should get an opportunity to play, at least in a backup for starters Giovani dos Santos and Gyasi Zardses, a combo that has produced only one goal between them this season.
McInerney is only 24 years old, and is a proven, if not prolific, goalscorer. He has 43 goals in 167 career MLS matches. When he was called to the senior national team by KJinsmann in 2013 only seven younger U.S. players had ever been called up for a Gold Cup team.
“It’s a good opportunity to come to a club with a history of winning,” McInerney told reporters who were on hand for his first LA training session. “I’m coming here to get a chance to train and play, so I’m excited for the opportunity.”