Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySoccer World DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America ClassifiedsGame Report
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
WCQ 2018: Barbados forfeits for using ineligible player    
Barbados swept Aruba 2-0 and 1-0 in their 2018 World Cup qualifying series and moved into ...
WWC Today: England's Bronze ready for take gold    
Lucy Bronze, who helped the University of North Carolina win a national title in 2009, has ...
What They're Saying: Dave Checketts    
"The Burn, the Rapids, the Chicago Fire - listening to that, you couldn't tell if it ...
Open Cup: Jeffries leads Charlotte against former club    
The Charlotte Independence, the lone USL team still alive in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, ...
What They're Saying: Letter from Crossfire to FIFA    
"USSF and MLS appear to behave in a conspiratorial manner, acting side-by-side to deny U.S. youth ...
Copa America: Vargas leads host Chile into final    
Eduardo Vargas scored two goals to lead host Chile to a 2-1 win over 10-man Peru ...
'Caps and Sounders kick off CCL group play in August    
Two more Cascadia Cup matches in August and September have been added to the 2015 calendar ...
ICYMI | MLS: Gerrard arrives in L.A.    
Midfielder Steven Gerrard has arrived in Southern California to start the MLS phase of his illustrious ...
Scouting Report: USA must hit the pedal against Germans    
The USA and Germany have not played in more than two years, but there will be ...
Video Pick: An impressive collection of MLS golazos    
Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Olmes Garcia (Real Salt Lake), Darlington Nagbe (Portland), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose) ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives