CARSON, Calif. (Wednesday, June 19, 2013) – The LA Galaxy announced today that former club captain Peter Vagenas has been appointed the Director of the LA Galaxy Academy. Vagenas, who was captain of the Galaxy’s 2005 MLS Cup winning side, retired from the game earlier this year following a 13-year MLS career.
In his role as Director of the Galaxy Academy, Vagenas will be responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operation of the Academy, including implementing the coaching and training curriculums. He will also be in charge of continuing to develop players for the first team, supporting the club’s relationships within the Southern California soccer community and cultivating the growth of feeder clubs LA Galaxy SB and LA Galaxy OC. Vagenas will report to Galaxy Technical Director Jovan Kirovski.
“We’re excited to bring Pete back home to the LA Galaxy,” said LA Galaxy President Chris Klein. “He is an important part of the history of our club and he will play an integral role in developing the Galaxy players of the future.”
A native of Pasadena, Calif., Vagenas played for the Galaxy in nine of his 13 seasons in MLS. He was selected by the club with the 23rd overall selection in the second round of 2000 MLS SuperDraft. The St. Francis High (La Cañada Flintridge, Calif.) and UCLA product made his pro debut on May 24, 2000, against the New England Revolution, scoring on his debut in stoppage time of a 2-1 loss. He was appointed the club’s permanent captain ahead of the start of the 2005 season and led the Galaxy to “the Double” that year, winning both MLS Cup and the U.S. Open Cup.
During his career in MLS, Vagenas played for the Galaxy, Seattle Sounders FC, Vancouver Whitecaps FC and Chivas USA. He appeared in more than 250 combined regular season and postseason games in that time, winning a pair of MLS Cup titles (2002 and 2005 with the Galaxy) and four Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup titles (2001 and 2005 with the Galaxy, 2009 and 2010 with Seattle) as well as the 2002 Supporters’ Shield and 2000 CONCACAF Champions Cup with LA.
Vagenas ranks sixth in Galaxy history in both games played and games started, starting 164 of the 183 regular season games that he appeared in for the club. The 35-year-old scored 14 goals and added 28 assists in his career, with all but three assists coming in a Galaxy uniform. He also added two goals and two assists in 19 postseason games, reaching the MLS Cup Playoffs eight times in his 13 years as a player, including in each of his first six seasons as a pro.
“Mr. Anschutz and AEG have had a tremendous influence on my career as a professional and my growth as man and for that I will always be grateful. The LA Galaxy and our fans hold a special place in my heart and because of that I’m honored to be back with the club,” Vagenas said. “I would like to thank both Chris Klein and Bruce Arena for this opportunity and I look forward to working with our staff in continuing to set the standard amongst professional academies.”
In addition to his club career, Vagenas, who has already completed the course work for his U.S. Soccer Federation “B” coaching license, represented the U.S. at the 1999 Pan American Games, the 2000 Sydney Olympics and also made two appearances with the U.S. National Team. At the Olympics, he finished with a team-high three goals as he helped lead the U.S. to a fourth place finish, the best finish by a U.S. team in Olympic history. Shortly after returning from the Olympics, he made his full international debut, coming on as a second half substitute in a 2-0 win over Mexico at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum on October 25, 2000.