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Omar González announced as L.A. Galaxy’s third Designated Player

Aug 15, 2013, 3:45 PM EDT

Juventus v Los Angeles Galaxy - International Champions Cup 2013 Getty Images

Eschewing its tendency to sign big-name players from abroad for the role, the Los Angeles Galaxy announced Omar González as its third Designated Player on Thursday. The United States international has spent his entire professional career with the Galaxy since his third-overall selection in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft.

“I’m really excited to take on this task in helping the Galaxy go for their consecutive third MLS Cup,” González said in a press conference at StubHub Center. “After looking at all my options, I think I made the right decision signing here. … I’ve loved my time here, and I’m looking forward to continuing that.”

A native of Dallas who played four years of college soccer at University of Maryland, González has won a slough of individual awards in his four full seasons in Major League Soccer. He was Rookie of the Year in 2009, Defender of the Year in 2011 and MLS Best XI in 2010 and 2011.

“We have a player that grew up in our system, he proved it on the field in Major League Soccer and he’s being rewarded accordingly,” head coach Bruce Arena said. “This is what our young kids are going to aspire to be one day.”

In January 2012, his prospects of moving abroad improved when he was loaned to FC Nürnberg of the Bundesliga. But in his first training session, he tore his left ACL after a collision in training, cutting the loan short.

But after missing the first half of 2012 in recovery, González won MLS Cup MVP, when he scored once and made several important defensive interventions in the Galaxy’s 3-1 win over the Houston Dynamo.

After earning a starting spot with the U.S. national team, rumors of interest from foreign clubs started to circulate again. The general feeling was that it would take a big raise — a Designated Player contract — to keep González in MLS.

“He’s been one of the most important players on our team, on a team that’s seen unprecedented success,” Galaxy president Chris Klein said. “We knew from the start that Omar was a guy that we wanted to keep here.”

González, 24, becomes the only center back in the league on a Designated Player deal. His previous contract guaranteed him $282,000 a year, according to numbers released Aug. 1 by the MLS Players Union.

  1. hildezero - Aug 15, 2013 at 4:56 PM

    This is important for US Soccer. There were rumors that Mexican clubs were interested in him which obviously, that was bad news. The crazy thing was that those clubs were lower table clubs that wanted him. If the MLS wants to be better than the Mexican league, they have to keep their players from going to the Mexican league.

  2. bman0921 - Aug 15, 2013 at 11:47 PM

    Haha I just thought of something funny: What if in Europe each team were only allowed 3 Designated Players. Barcelona’s like “Sorry Neymar, we can’t sign you because we already have Messi, Xavi, and Iniesta as our DPs.” HA! I guess that’s when you know your league is a joke…

    • petertyler - Aug 16, 2013 at 4:13 PM

      You’re missing the point, and a great deal of history.

      Soccer is still a developing sport here in the USA, and leagues can ill-afford to go crazy buying expensive players. That’s what ruined the old NASL. The DP rules are MLS’s attempt to avoid a similar fate, and I believe so far it’s working. Sure, we’d like more hot players in the league, but then, we need to work on developing those domestically anyway. The DP rules turn out to be an investment for the long haul when viewed that way.

      This league’s not a joke, it’s just a relative newbie in its teens. When it’s as big as NHL or NFL, THEN we’ll start seeing more freely flowing cash for player acquisitions and fewer odd rules.

      • bman0921 - Aug 17, 2013 at 12:41 AM

        Yeah that’s all fairly obvious, I just HOPE that it’s true. If the MLS is doing this just to get a foothold in the country then I’m all for it, I just hope that one day it can aspire to be a real soccer league.

        No one said they have to go crazy buying players, but if a team like the Galaxy can afford to pay homegrown players AND bring in world class talent, why would you want to limit that? After all, we all know how it works: better players means better teams, which means more ticket sales and TV viewers, which leads to more money to develop domestically and spend on even better players. And the cycle continues.

        Coming from a Union fan, I would love to see the Galaxy, or any MLS team for that matter, be able to compete on the world stage, because that would mean great things for the rest of the league. I hear all this talk about parity, but really the league is just promoting mediocrity. Right now, winning the MLS is like being the smartest kid in a Special ED class, and who even wants that? I don’t understand why the MLS is trying so hard to be like the NFL, when really it should be like the MLB, or the rest of World Soccer.

        Trust me, I want to see this league to do well. I follow it and watch my Union every week, but I can’t pretend like I’m OK with it, because if we do, then it has no reason to change. Right now the MLS is a joke, I just hope that one day we cant look back and laugh.

    • charliej11 - Aug 17, 2013 at 2:47 AM

      Man, bman what a dumb post

  3. hildezero - Aug 16, 2013 at 5:54 PM

    @bman0921

    That was one of the most ridiculous comments I’ve ever read on this website.

    • bman0921 - Aug 17, 2013 at 12:44 AM

      I guess you’d have to understand soccer to get it. You’re not dumb, you’re just a Ted Lasso.

  4. charliej11 - Aug 17, 2013 at 2:46 AM

    Smart signing by LA, they don’t win it all without him, so why let him go ? They didn’t..smart.

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