LA Galaxy loan forward Jose Villarreal to Cruz Azul

The Homegrown player joins Cruz Azul of Mexico on loan for the 2014 MLS season

CARSON, Calif. (Monday, December 23, 2013) – The LA Galaxy announced today that the club has agreed to loan forward Jose Villarreal to Cruz Azul of Mexico’s Liga MX for the 2014 MLS season, pending the finalization of an agreement with Cruz Azul. One of four Homegrown players on the Galaxy roster in 2013, Villarreal appeared in 31 games for the club in all competitions last year, scoring three times and adding an assist. Originally signed by the Galaxy in December 2011, the 20-year-old made his MLS debut in July 2012 and has scored three goals in 32 league appearances, including 12 starts for the club during the 2013 season.

Villarreal’s loan, which includes an option to buy for the Mexican club, is scheduled to run through the 2014 Apertura season. Per club and league policy the loan fee was not disclosed.

“Sending Jose Villarreal to Cruz Azul provides one of our Homegrown players an opportunity to gain additional experience,” said LA Galaxy general manager and head coach Bruce Arena. “We’ll monitor Jose’s play with Cruz Azul and wish him well while in Mexico.”

A native of Inglewood, Calif., Villarreal became the third player to sign with the Galaxy directly from the club’s Academy when he joined LA in December 2011. Officially added to the club’s roster in July 2012, he made his MLS debut on July 14, 2012 against the Portland Timbers and scored the first goal of his career four days later against Vancouver Whitecaps FC, registering the game-tying goal in the 87th minute of a 2-2 draw. Villarreal, who also scored at home against the Puerto Rico Islanders in the Group Stage of the 2012-13 CONCACAF Champions League, finished 2012 with two goals in 14 appearances in all competitions while helping the Galaxy win the club’s fourth MLS Cup title.

Villarreal scored three times in 31 games for the Galaxy in 2013, scoring twice in MLS play while also adding a goal against Herediano in the CONCACAF Champions League. He made the first start of his MLS career on March 17 against Chivas USA and then scored the game-tying goal in second half stoppage time of the club’s 2-2 draw at Toronto FC on March 30. His only other league goal came against Vancouver Whitecaps FC on July 20 in a game that the Galaxy won 2-1 at StubHub Center.

In addition to his play for the Galaxy in 2013, Villarreal was also a part of the U.S. Under-20 National Team squad that played at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey. A member of the All-Tournament team at the CONCACAF U-20 Championship at which he scored three times in four games to help the U.S. qualify for the U-20 World Cup, He then started all three games that the U.S. played at that tournament. He finished the year with a team-best five goals in seven appearances for the U-20’s.

Season tickets for the 2014 MLS season are on sale now, starting at just $250. Becoming a Galaxy Season Ticket Member gives fans the opportunity to see every Galaxy home game as well as number of additional benefits such as access to Town Hall meetings with Galaxy leaders, discounts on additional single game tickets, entrance into the club’s new Season Ticket Member loyalty program and much more as well as discounts at all TEAM LA locations and on select camps at the Galaxy Soccer Center in Torrance. For more information about becoming a Galaxy Season Ticket Member, please call 877-3GALAXY (342-5299) or visit www.lagalaxy.com/tickets.