CARSON, Calif. – It’s official, Steven Gerrard is the newest member of the LA Galaxy.
The club officially announced that they had secured the 34-year-old English midfielder’s signature on Wednesday.
An icon for Liverpool FC and a former captain of the England national team, Gerrard will join the Galaxy this summer after completing one final campaign for the Reds, Gerrard’s boyhood club.
To celebrate the Englishman’s arrival stateside, LA Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano has provided his top eight memorable moments of Steven Gerrard’s legendary career with Liverpool FC and England.
THE START: HIS FIRST GOAL FOR LIVERPOOL FC
No player is more synonymous with Liverpool FC than Steven Gerrard, but back in 1999, the midfielder was simply a lanky 19-year-old trying to make his way with his hometown club.
Heralded as one of Liverpool’s most promising youth prospects, Gerrard gave the Liverpool faithful a true indication that he could be something special with his first senior goal for the Reds on Dec. 5, 1999 against Sheffield Wednesday. The goal was a brilliant individual effort as Gerrard received the ball near midfield and then made a typically barnstorming run into space before slaloming past two defenders before a delivering a clinical right-footed finish into the back of the net.
Following his goal, English pundits began to rave about the future of the 19-year-old who was soon to be known across the world.
FIRST GOAL FOR ENGLAND IN 2002 WORLD CUP QUALIFIER AGAINST GERMANY
Just two years after scoring his first goal for Liverpool FC, Gerrard signaled his arrival for England with a goal during their 5-1 thumping of Germany in qualifying for the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
With the score level, Gerrard scored his first international goal with a rocket from beyond the penalty area to complete a sequence that England captain David Beckham started. After the goal, the English attack exploded as they scored three unanswered goals to embarrass the Germans in front of their home crowd in Munich.
Despite enjoying plenty of success for the Three Lions throughout his celebrated career, Gerrard would go on to say that the goal was his finest moment in an England kit.
MAKING A STATEMENT: SCORING IN THE 2001 UEFA CUP FINAL
Back in 2001, Steven Gerrard was only starting to carve his place among the English Premier League’s finest midfielders, but just months after being given the Liverpool captaincy, he made a major statement with his booming goal in the 2001 UEFA Cup Final.
Up a goal on Spanish side Alaves in the 16th minute, a darting run off the shoulder of a defender allowed Gerrard to find enough space to be picked out by a Michael Owen pass. From there, Gerrard was clinical as he blasted the ball past the goalkeeper from 15 yards out. Liverpool went on to lift the trophy in dramatic fashion with a golden goal in extra-time thanks to a defensive miscue by Alaves’ right back Delfí Geli. The win not only gave Liverpool the trophy, but also helped the Reds complete the treble after the team won the FA Cup and League Cup earlier in the year.
The goal signaled a major passing of the torch for Liverpool FC. Months later, leading scorer Robbie Fowler moved on to Leeds United, allowing Gerrard to take his place as the one of the Reds’ chief offensive options.
YA’ BEAUTY: GERRARD’S ROCKET AGAINST OLYMPIAKOS IN THE 2005 UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
When you look back at Steven Gerrard’s remarkable tally against Greek side Olympiakos in the 2005 Champions League quarterfinals, all you need to do is listen to the pure adulation from commentator Andy Gray.
What started as a simple header into space at the top of the box resulted in one of world soccer’s most iconic goals as Gerrard buried a right-footed missile that sailed into the back of net. The late goal put Liverpool through to the knockout stages of the Champions League and started their run to their fifth European Cup.
But for some what made Gerrard’s blast so special was the delirious call from Gray who shouted “Ya Beauty! What a hit, son! What a hit, son!” as Liverpool celebrated the goal.
MERSEYSIDE HISTORY: GERRARD’S HAT TRICK AGAINST EVERTON IN 2012
Steven Gerrard’s reputation was built on impressive performances in big games, but no game was bigger for the Liverpool FC captain than when he suited up against their crosstown rivals Everton in the Merseyside Derby.
In 2012, Gerrard made derby history by tallying only the second hat trick ever hat trick in the Merseyside Derby as Liverpool earned a 3-0 victory against their arch rivals. Each goal was a testament to the Gerrard’s versatility as he scored from a booming shot as well a pair of close-range finishes to give Liverpool the win.
The 34-year-old’s 10 goals against the Toffees are the second-highest among a Liverpool player in club history and Gerrard’s highest mark against any other English side. Gerrard is guaranteed one more match against Everton when Liverpool travels to Goodison Park in what will likely be his final appearance in the Merseyside Derby.
SERVING AS THE ENGLAND CAPTAIN
After serving as an alternate for years, Steven Gerrard was officially named the captain of England prior to UEFA Euro 2012.
In his first tournament as the permanent captain, Gerrard was one of the lone bright spots for an English side that crashed out of the quarterfinals after a penalty shootout defeat by Italy. With a string of strong performances and three assists, Gerrard was the only Englishman named to the UEFA Team of the Tournament. Following the Euros, Gerrard remained the captain throughout the team’s qualification for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, earning his 100th cap during that time period in a friendly with Sweden.
Gerrard also scored the decisive goal to put the English through to Brazil in Oct. 2013 with a clever finish against Poland.
Gerrard retained the armband until he announced his retirement from international football after England’s ill-fated campaign at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The 34-year-old ended his international career as the third-most capped player in England history with 114 appearances and 21 goals.
THE STOPPAGE TIME STRIKE AGAINST WEST HAM IN THE 2006 FA CUP FINAL
Liverpool FC supporters describe Steven Gerrard as “Captain Fantastic” but no moment in his career with the Reds was more fantastic than his dramatic FA Cup Final equalizer in 2006.
The Reds entered the 2006 FA Cup Final as heavy favorites against West Ham United, but they found themselves trailing 3-2 in stoppage time. That’s when “Captain Fantastic” stepped up as Gerrard delivered a powerful volley from beyond 30 yards that sailed into the bottom corner for the equalizer. The match was ultimately to be decided in penalties as Liverpool defeated the Hammers 3-1 with Gerrard slotting his own attempt home.
This season as Gerrard runs out the clock with the Reds, the 34-year-old has targeted the FA Cup as one of his main objectives in his final season with Liverpool. With the final taking place on May 30—which is Gerrard’s 35th birthday—it just may be in the stars.
THE MIRACLE AT ISTANBUL
No game will embody Steven Gerrard’s career more than the events of May 25, 2005 when the Englishman sparked a comeback for the ages that saw Liverpool crowned champions of Europe for a fifth time.
Facing Italian giants A.C. Milan in the 2005 UEFA Champions League Final, Liverpool fell behind early, conceding three times before half time. What happened next was the stuff of legend as the Reds roared back in the span of just eight minutes.
Gerrard put Liverpool on the board with a towering header and a brisk arm motion willing his team and its supporters’ forward. Vladimír Šmicer quickly added Liverpool’s second and just four minutes later, Gerrard earned a penalty to give the Reds a chance to pull level. Xabi Alonso completed he comeback when he smashed home a rebound after having his initial penalty attempt saved by Milan goalkeeper Dida. At the conclusion of a tense 120 minutes that saw Milan nearly take the lead multiple times, the match was to be decided by penalties.
After such a thrilling comeback, it was fate that Liverpool won the day as goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek made a pair of saves to help the Reds win the European Cup. No matter what may happen for Gerrard throughout his professional career, no moment will ever embody his tenacity and fight quite like the actions of Istanbul.
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com.