CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy today acquired the rights to forward Juan Pablo Ángel and defender Frankie Hejduk. The Galaxy selected Ángel with the #5 pick in the first round of Stage 2 of the Re-Entry Process, which the Galaxy acquired earlier in the day from the Houston Dynamo in exchange for the Galaxy’s natural fourth round pick in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft. LA then selected midfielder Luke Sassano with the #14 pick, the Galaxy’s natural pick, in the first round of the Re-Entry Process.
Following the completion of the Re-Entry Process, the Galaxy traded the rights to Sassano to Sporting Kansas City in exchange for the rights to Frankie Hejduk, who Sporting had selected with the #8 pick in the first round of the Re-Entry Process from Columbus.
The club now has seven days to extend contract offers with the two players. If the Galaxy cannot reach an agreement with either player in that time, the club will hold the right of first refusal for that player in MLS.
One of the top goalscorers in MLS over the past four seasons, Ángel is the Red Bulls all-time leading scorer, tallying 61 goals for the club in all competitions, including 58 in the regular season. A native of Medellin, Colombia, Ángel joined the Red Bulls in 2007, when they were coached by current Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena, and was a finalist for the MLS MVP award that season, scoring 19 goals, which were the second most in MLS. One year later, Ángel led the Red Bulls to the Western Conference Championship and a berth in MLS Cup for the first time in club history, scoring twice in a 4-1 aggregate goal win over Houston in their Western Conference Semifinal Series. A three-time All-Star, Ángel appeared in all 30 of the Red Bulls’ games in 2010, scoring a team-best 13 goals and helping them finish in first place in the Eastern Conference. Ángel began his career in his native Colombia with Nacional Medellin before joining River Plate in Argentina in 1997. He moved to England in January 2001, joining Aston Villa of the Premier League.
A Southern California native, Hejduk is an MLS original, having debuted for the Tampa Bay Mutiny in 1996. Primarily an outside back, the 36-year-old former UCLA star spent three seasons with the Mutiny before moving to Germany with Bayer Leverkusen following the 1998 FIFA World Cup. After four years in Germany, Hejduk joined FC St. Gallen in Switzerland in September 2002. He returned to MLS in 2003, joining the Columbus Crew, with whom he has spent the last eight seasons, serving as the club’s captain for the last five years. In that time, he appeared in more than 150 regular season and postseason games for the club, helping the Crew win their first MLS Cup championship in 2008. He started all four of the club’s postseason games that year and scored his team’s third and final goal as they defeated New York 3-1 at The Home Depot Center. In 197 career MLS regular season appearances, Hejduk has scored 12 goals and added 25 assists.
A veteran of the 1998 and 2002 World Cups, as well as the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games, Hejduk has made 85 appearances with the U.S. National Team since debuting in 1996. In addition to playing at two World Cups, appearing in seven of the eight games that the U.S. played in France and Japan/Korea, Hejduk also helped his country qualify for the 2006 World Cup, for which he was named to the squad but was forced to withdraw because of a knee injury, and the 2010 World Cup. A member of the U.S.’s CONCACAF Gold Cup winning teams in 2002, 2005 and 2007, Hejduk scored the first of his seven international goals in December 1996, tallying in a 2-2 draw with Guatemala in a World Cup Qualifier. His last goal for the U.S. also came in a World Cup Qualifier, heading home a late equalizer, after setting up his team’s opening goal, as the U.S. earned a 2-2 draw with El Salvador in March 2009.