INDIANAPOLIS – Gyasi Zardes may have signed a Homegrown deal with the LA Galaxy in December, but he still got his SuperDraft moment in January as two other Homegrown players were presented at Thursday’s 2013 MLS SuperDraft.
One of the top goal scorers in college soccer, Zardes notched 33 goals in 37 games with the Roadrunners over his four seasons at CSU Bakersfield. Although his Homegrown status prevented him from taking part in the draft day festivities, Zardes believes that he was far better off signing a deal for LA.
“It was a great decision to sign a Homegrown because I knew which club I was going to play for and prepare for,” Zardes said, “as opposed to these guys [in the SuperDraft] – they’re waiting and waiting. It just helped me prepare sooner than these guys"
When the Galaxy begin their preseason on Monday, Zardes is expected to challenge for a forward spot alongside LA’s leading goal scorer from 2012, Robbie Keane. As he prepares to play alongside the talented Irishman, Zardes – who is proud of the “flair and style” in his game— admits that he’s been taking notes on how he could fit alongside Keane.
“I’m excited to play alongside Robbie Keane and just learn as much as I possibly can,” said Zardes. “I watch how many guys cram and defend Robbie Keane and I think to myself that I can make those kinds of runs to be open for the future.”
But can Zardes step in during his first rookie season? Galaxy head coach and general manager Bruce Arena seems to think so.
"We sense that he's going to be able to help us a little bit this year,” said Arena. "He's a very bright, articulate, confident kid and hopefully that translates a little bit on the field, where it counts."
And where does Zardes believe that he would have gone if he entered the draft?
“In my eyes, I think I would’ve gone No. 1,” said Zardes with a smile.