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LA Galaxy Sign Veteran Defender Frankie Hejduk

CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy announced today that the club has signed defender Frankie Hejduk to a one-year contract. Per team and league regulations, details of the contract were not released. The Galaxy acquired the rights to Hejduk earlier this month in a trade with Sporting Kansas City, who had selected him in the first round of Stage 2 of the MLS Re-Entry Process, in exchange for the rights to midfielder Luke Sassano.

“We’re very pleased to be able to come to terms with Frankie Hejduk,” said LA Galaxy General Manager and Head Coach Bruce Arena, who coached Hejduk at the 1996 Olympics and 2002 World Cup. “I believe he will be a great addition to our team and will give us added depth and experience to our backline.”

A 36-year-old Southern California native, Hejduk is an MLS original and a veteran of two World Cups. Primarily an outside back, the former UCLA product joins the Galaxy following eight seasons with the Columbus Crew, serving the last five years as the club’s captain, including the Crew’s championship season of 2008. In 197 career MLS regular season appearances, Hejduk has scored 12 goals and added 25 assists.

Photo Gallery: Frankie Hejduk

“I’m happy that everything worked out the way it did and very excited to join a great organization and team like the LA Galaxy,” Hejduk said. “The most important thing is the opportunity to help this club and its fans win an MLS Cup championship. At the end of the day that is everyone’s goal and if I can be a part of that any way shape or form, that will be great.”

Originally a seventh round draft pick in the inaugural MLS draft, Hejduk began his professional career in 1996 with the Tampa Bay Mutiny. He 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 spent the last eight seasons. 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 three seasons ago. He started all four of the club’s postseason games that year and scored his team’s third and final goal of MLS Cup as they defeated New York 3-1 at The Home Depot Center.

“As a Sothern California native, to get an opportunity to play in front of my family and friends is a cool thing that not too many people get to do,” added Hejduk. “In addition, the transition into the locker room is going to be an easy one for me as I already have a bond with many of the players here through the National Team program. It’s not very often you get to play with other World Cup veterans on your team and I’m really looking forward to playing with them as well as some of the young and up and coming MLS stars on the Galaxy roster.”

Hejduk is a veteran of the 1998 and 2002 World Cups, as well as the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games. He has made 85 appearances with the U.S. National Team and scored seven goals 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. He was also 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.

Hejduk and the Galaxy will open the 2011 MLS season on Tuesday, March 15 when they head to Seattle to take on the Seattle Sounders FC at Qwest Field in MLS First Kick 2011, presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods. That game, which will kick off at 6:30 p.m., will be shown live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes, as well as online at ESPN3.com. The Galaxy will then host the New England Revolution in their home opener at 5 p.m. on Sunday, March 20 at The Home Depot Center. Tickets are now available for that match through the Kickoff Pack which includes four tickets and two Galaxy blankets, starting at $96. BUY NOW

TRANSACTION – LA Galaxy sign defender Frankie Hejduk.

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