A Day in the Life of an American Professional Soccer Player in 39 Photos

A Day in the Life of an American Professional Soccer Player in 39 Photos

Editor's note: This is the first in a series of photo essays documenting athletes on the days of sporting events. Dan Gargan, a 31-year-old right back for the Los Angeles Galaxy, allowed Mic to follow him before, during and after Wednesday night's friendly against Manchester United at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.

For millions of people, soccer is just a game. For a small few, soccer is a craft and profession. When an opportunity comes about like the one I had Wednesday to play against one of the best teams in the world in Manchester United, it is met with an onrush of thoughts and emotions. The process of preparation mirrors what I've done countless times in the past, but simultaneously offers something I have never done before.

How my habits have evolved is interesting to see from an outside point of view. It is a slow burn to have the start of your workday commence at 8:06 p.m. sharp. Making these pictures has shown me that my ritual is a lot more eventful than it feels while going through it. The events leading up to that first kick were just like any other game day, while being markedly different in the fact that we were playing in front of 86,000 people at the Rose Bowl, one of the world's iconic stadiums.

Although the game itself felt a bit like a long walk in tight shoes, the lessons it offered for our craft were undeniable. Each minute was a master class at the Oxford School of Football. The sophistication that Manchester United exhibited in its pace, quality and execution were priceless to witness first hand. It was an experience similar to thousands of other game days I have been through, but refined to a precision of something new and indelible.

8:36 a.m., Manhattan Beach, Calif.

Image Credit: Michael M. Koehler/Special to Mic

8:52 am, Manhattan Beach, Calif.

Image Credit: Michael M. Koehler/Special to Mic

10:15 a.m., Manhattan Beach, Calif.

Image Credit: Michael M. Koehler/Special to Mic

11:40 a.m., Manhattan Beach, Calif.

Image Credit: Michael M. Koehler/Special to Mic

11:43 a.m., Manhattan Beach, Calif.

Image Credit: Michael M. Koehler/Special to Mic

11:50 a.m., Manhattan Beach, Calif.

Image Credit: Michael M. Koehler/Special to Mic

11:55 a.m., Manhattan Beach, Calif.

Image Credit: Michael M. Koehler/Special to Mic

12:12 p.m., Manhattan Beach, Calif.

Image Credit: Michael M. Koehler/Special to Mic

12:33 p.m., Manhattan Beach, Calif.

Image Credit: Michael M. Koehler/Special to Mic

12:37 p.m., Manhattan Beach, Calif.

Image Credit: Michael M. Koehler/Special to Mic

1:22 p.m., Pasadena, Calif.

Image Credit: Michael M. Koehler/Special to Mic

1:46 p.m., Pasadena, Calif.

Image Credit: Michael M. Koehler/Special to Mic

2:01 p.m., Pasadena, Calif.

Image Credit: Michael M. Koehler/Special to Mic

2:05 p.m., Pasadena, Calif.

Image Credit: Michael M. Koehler/Special to Mic

5:13 p.m., Pasadena, Calif.

Image Credit: Michael M. Koehler/Special to Mic

6:17 p.m., Pasadena, Calif.

Image Credit: Michael M. Koehler/Special to Mic

6:43 p.m., Pasadena, Calif.

Image Credit: Michael M. Koehler/Special to Mic

6:58 p.m., Pasadena, Calif.

Image Credit: Michael M. Koehler/Special to Mic

7:05 p.m., Pasadena, Calif.

Image Credit: Michael M. Koehler/Special to Mic

7:20 p.m., Pasadena, Calif.

Image Credit: Michael M. Koehler/Special to Mic

8:03 p.m., Pasadena, Calif.

Image Credit: Michael M. Koehler/Special to Mic

8:22 p.m., Pasadena, Calif.

Image Credit: Michael M. Koehler/Special to Mic

8:29 p.m., Pasadena, Calif.

Image Credit: Michael M. Koehler/Special to Mic

8:58 p.m., Pasadena, Calif.

Image Credit: Michael M. Koehler/Special to Mic

9:01 p.m., Pasadena, Calif.

Image Credit: Michael M. Koehler/Special to Mic

9:06 p.m., Pasadena, Calif.

Image Credit: Michael M. Koehler/Special to Mic

9:22 p.m., Pasadena, Calif.

Image Credit: Michael M. Koehler/Special to Mic

9:40 p.m., Pasadena, Calif.

Image Credit: Michael M. Koehler/Special to Mic

9:50 p.m., Pasadena, Calif.

Image Credit: Michael M. Koehler/Special to Mic

9:58 p.m., Pasadena, Calif.

Image Credit: Michael M. Koehler/Special to Mic

9:58 p.m., Pasadena, Calif.

Image Credit: Michael M. Koehler/Special to Mic

9:59 p.m., Pasadena, Calif.

Image Credit: Michael M. Koehler/Special to Mic

10:08 p.m., Pasadena, Calif.

Image Credit: Michael M. Koehler/Special to Mic

10:14 p.m., Pasadena, Calif.

Image Credit: Michael M. Koehler/Special to Mic

10:23 p.m., Pasadena, Calif.

Image Credit: Michael M. Koehler/Special to Mic

10:34 p.m., Pasadena, Calif.

Image Credit: Michael M. Koehler/Special to Mic

10:35 p.m., Pasadena, Calif.

Image Credit: Michael M. Koehler/Special to Mic

10:41 p.m., Pasadena, Calif.

Image Credit: Michael M. Koehler/Special to Mic

10:44 p.m., Pasadena, Calif.

Image Credit: Michael M. Koehler/Special to Mic