Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Galaxy is No. 1 in Zardes' heart
by Paul Kennedy, December 27th, 2012 11:06PM

MOST READ
TAGS:  college men, los angeles galaxy, mls

MOST COMMENTED

[THIRTEEN FOR '13] One of the neat things about MLS's homegrown program is that it allows young players to begin their pro careers with their hometown teams. Just ask Gyasi Zardes, who grew up dreaming of playing for the Los Angeles Galaxy down the road from his home in Hawthorne, Calif., and still has a David Beckham poster hanging in his room.

THIRTEEN FOR '13:
9. Gyasi Zardes (CSU Bakersfield-signed with Los Angeles Galaxy)
8. Walker Zimmerman (Furman)
Follow @thewalkerzim
7. Gale Agbossoumonde (Carolina RailHawks-signed with Toronto FC)
Follow @galecuse17
6. Oscar Sorto (Los Angeles Galaxy U-17/18s-signed with Los Angeles Galaxy)
Follow @oscaritosorto13
5. Mikey Lopez (North Carolina)
Follow @MLopez5tarheel
4. Amando Moreno (New York Red Bulls U-17/18s-signed with New York Red Bulls)
Follow @Amando_moreno
3. Andrew Farrell (Louisville)
Follow @louisville5
2. Ashton Bennett (Coastal Carolina)
1. Wil Trapp (Akron-signed with Columbus Crew)
Follow @wil_trapp


“I have to say that the Galaxy, I mean, it's the No. 1 club in my heart, as far as America,” said Zardes in a conference call with Galaxy media after signing with a homegrown contract with the club. “I'm thrilled to be part of the Galaxy. Now a new chapter in my life begins, and it's definitely going to be hard work."

Zardes, whose great-grandfather came to the United States from Brazil, grew up in Hawthorne, not far from the Galaxy's Home Depot Center, and played soccer like his older brothers Glenn Jr., Gabriel and Garcel did.

"I think I got the best from all of them," he told the Bakersfield Californian. "My oldest brother has an amazing foot. My second-oldest has great ball control and my other brother has an amazing shot."

But at Leuzinger High School, he attracted as much interest from college football programs for his ability as a place-kicker as he did from soccer programs. It wasn't until his senior year that he attracted a lot of soccer interest and he eventually chose CSU Bakersfield over several Los Angeles schools because he was afraid he'd get sidetracked if he remained at home.

Few aspiring pros hold down a job on the side while playing college soccer, but Gyasi (Swahili for "Wonderful Child" ) worked part-time at a Jamba Juice while attending CSU Bakersfield, where he spent four years.

Zardes redshirted in 2009 and scored 36 goals the last three seasons. He was named the MPSF Player of the Year the last two seasons and helped put the Roadrunners Division I program on the national college map.

Zardes almost signed after his sophomore season with the Roadrunners but he wanted to get closer to finishing his degree in physical education and kinesiology. He also attracted interest from several German clubs and trained last summer at Liverpool.

The 21-year-old Zardes, who played two seasons with the Galaxy's U-18 team and two seasons for its U-20 team in the USL Super 20 League, is considered the top American forward coming out of college this year.

He is the Galaxy's oldest homegrown signing -- the previous four homegrown players all were in high school or had just finished high school when they signed -- and thinks he's ready to help the Galaxy.

"I definitely think that my speed with the ball and without the ball is a powerful factor," he said. "I also think that my defensive work rate will also be a key factor. To be honest, every single player can work on every aspect of their game and I definitely don't think that I have a particular weakness, but I definitely think that I can work on everything, but I also feel that I have a few attributes that will help me adapt to MLS quickly."

His goal: help the Galaxy in its quest for a three-peat.

“Just playing alongside Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan is going to be a thrill," he said, "and the legacy the Galaxy has, especially coming off two-time, back-to-back championships – it's going to be great to finally put in the work and try to bring back a third championship this year.”



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
Video Pick: Alex Meier on Fire     
The leading scorer in the Europe's highest scoring league is a player you may not have ...
What They're Saying: Chris Wondolowski    
"I'm not over it. I'm not sure I'll ever get over it. [Pause] I actually think ...
U.S. U-20s win at San Pedro Sula    
San Pedro Sula is no easy place to play as the USA (2-1 loser in the ...
Press and Lloyd combine for all seven in U.S. win    
After a tie and loss in its first two games at the Torneio Internacional da Brasilia, ...
What They're Saying: Juergen Klopp    
"He took a wrong turn at some point. But everything is back to normal now. He ...
TV Report: MLS expansion teams ink local deals    
As expected, New York City FC has entered into a multi-year agreement with YES Network, while ...
Timbers land Wake's Vidovich to run T2    
The Portland Timbers, who dipped into the college ranks to get head coach Caleb Porter, have ...
Veterans in demand as Re-Entry Draft concludes    
Stage 2 of the 2014 MLS Re-Entry Draft offered up fair doses of everything, as did ...
MLS Trade Central: Thursday's deals    
Sporting Kansas City has signed 25-year-old Hungarian international forward Krisztian Nemeth from Dutch cub Roda JC  ...
What They're Saying: Michael Garcia    
"It is the lack of leadership on these issues within FIFA that leads me to conclude ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives