PHILADELPHIA – Ahead of the 2015 MLS SuperDraft on Thursday morning, the LA Galaxy find themselves with a pleasant little problem.
Thanks to their 2014 MLS Cup victory, the Galaxy have the 21st and final pick in the first round of the SuperDraft. Holding the last selection in the first round means that all of the most highly touted prospects will be long be drafted, which requires head coach Bruce Arena and his technical staff to be clever with their selection.
Having won five MLS Cups, the LA Galaxy have held the final selection in the first round more times than any other club and ahead of Thursday’s draft, LA Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano has taken a look back at the club’s previous draft picks after winning a title.
2003: GUILLERMO GONZALEZ (Midfielder, Project-40)
A year after winning MLS Cup for the first time, then LA Galaxy head coach Sigi Schmid opted to select 16-year-old Project-40 phenom Guillermo Gonzalez with the eighth overall selection in the 2003 MLS SuperDraft.
A highly touted prospect from Paramount, Gonzalez graduated from the IMG Academy in 2003 alongside the likes of Freddy Adu and Eddie Gaven. In his first season with the Galaxy, Gonzalez spent much of his time with the U.S. Under-17 program en route to an appearance with the 2003 World Youth Cup in Finland. Gonzalez played the next four years with the Galaxy, but made just 12 appearances—all of which came in his first two seasons— due to youth team commitments and disappointing performances. The midfielder was also part of LA’s 2005 side that won both the MLS Cup and the U.S. Open Cup.
Gonzalez was waived by the Galaxy ahead of the 2007 season and was never again able to sign with a professional team. His soccer playing career over, Gonzalez began coaching youth soccer in Los Angeles which included an eight-year stint as an assistant coach with Community College women’s soccer powerhouse Cerritos College. The now 29-year-old Gonzalez is currently the men’s soccer coach of local high school Bishop Amat.
2006: NATHAN STURGIS (Midfielder, Clemson)
After their improbable run to the 2005 MLS Cup, the LA Galaxy sought to bolster their aging midfield by selecting hard-nosed defensive midfielder Nathan Sturgis out of Clemson.
As the Galaxy tumbled in 2006, Sturgis was in and out of the lineup as he made 15 starts in his rookie season. A year later, however, Sturgis was out the door as he was dealt midseason to Real Salt Lake where he spent the next one and a half seasons. Over the last seven campaigns, Sturgis has proven to be quite the journeyman as he has spent time with Seattle Sounders FC (2009-2010), Toronto FC (2011), Houston Dynamo (2012), Colorado Rapids (2013-2014), and finally Chivas USA (2014).
In his last year with the Rojiblancos, Sturgis made 16 appearances with nine starts after being acquired as part of an early season trade with the Rapids. This season, Sturgis will again be on the move as he was picked up by his former team Houston in Stage Two of the 2014 MLS Re-Entry Draft.
2012: TOMMY MEYER (Defender, Indiana)
None of the four SuperDraft picks mentioned have made more an impact in an LA Galaxy kit than Tommy Meyer, who was selected out of the University of Indiana with the 19th selection in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft.
Primarily a reserve throughout his rookie season, Meyer stepped up during the stretch run after incumbent starter A.J. DeLaGarza went down with a major knee injury. After DeLaGarza’s injury, Meyer was slotted in alongside Omar Gonzalez and provided the defensive backbone for a Galaxy side that went on to repeat as MLS Cup champions.
Since his remarkable showing in the 2012 MLS Cup Playoffs, Meyer has yet to hold down a steady role in the Galaxy’s first XI, but has been a frequent contributor amongst the back four. After tallying just seven league appearances in 2013, Meyer set career-highs in appearances and minutes played last season while also playing in two matches during the team’s run to a fifth MLS Cup title.
Heading into his fourth season with the club, Meyer is expected to be a major contender for a starting role once the Galaxy return to the field.
2013: CHARLIE RUGG (Forward, Boston College)
A speedy striker with the frame of a target man and impressive strike rate at Boston College, Charlie Rugg caught the attention for the LA Galaxy and was chosen with the 19th overall pick in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft.
Joining a strike force that included Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane meant that minutes were going to be few and far between for Rugg, but with Keane unavailable for a stretch in April of his rookie year, the Boston College striker made a name for himself. In his first MLS game, Rugg found the back of the net as he helped an understrength Galaxy side earn a 2-0 road victory over Real Salt Lake. Rugg earned another start a week later, but he appeared in only two games for the duration of the team’s league campaign.
Rugg spent all of the 2014 season on loan with USL PRO affiliate LA Galaxy II where he made 25 appearances, scoring eight goals and three assists for Los Dos. In 2015, Rugg is likely to once again start the season with Galaxy II as he looks to earn his way back onto the first team.