LA Galaxy sign defender Omar Gonzalez to Designated Player contract

CARSON, Calif. (Thursday, August 15, 2013) – The LA Galaxy announced today that the club has agreed to a new multi-year contract with defender Omar Gonzalez. Under the terms of the new deal, Gonzalez, the 2011 MLS Defender of the Year and 2012 MLS Cup MVP, will become the Galaxy’s third Designated Player, joining Landon Donovan and club captain Robbie Keane. Per club and league policy, details of the contract were not disclosed.

To be the first Galaxy and U.S. defender to be named as a Designated Player is a great honor for me,” said Gonzalez. “The Galaxy are the premier club in MLS and I’m looking forward to growing as a professional in LA while working towards winning a third consecutive MLS Cup.”

The first defender to be a Designated Player with the Galaxy, Gonzalez first joined the Galaxy in 2009 when he was selected by the club in the first round (third overall) of the 2009 MLS SuperDraft and his arrival has coincided with the club’s return to prominence in Major League Soccer. After missing the playoffs in each of the previous seasons before the arrival of Gonzalez, the club has played in MLS Cup in three of the past four years while reaching the Western Conference Championship in each of Gonzalez’s four years with the club.

“We are thrilled that Omar has chosen to remain with the Galaxy and Major League Soccer for years to come,” said Dan Beckerman, CEO of AEG.  “Omar’s commitment is a clear indication of our continued appeal as a destination for top soccer talent.”

The MLS Rookie of the Year in 2009, Gonzalez was also selected as the league’s Defender of the Year in 2011 when he won his first MLS Cup. Gonzalez is also a three-time MLS All-Star, being selected to represent the league in the All-Star Game in 2010, 2011 and 2013. Since his arrival, the Galaxy are 64-23-32 in regular season games in which Gonzalez appears compared to just 11-16-5 in the games that he misses. That means that the club has taken 62.7 percent of the available points with him in the lineup compared to just 39.6 percent of the available points in games that he misses.

"We are pleased that Omar will remain with the Galaxy,” said LA Galaxy Head Coach and General Manager Bruce Arena. “In the past five years, he has arguably developed in to the top defender in MLS. I believe he can continue to grow as a player and leader of our team.”

The 24-year-old has appeared in 119 regular season games since joining the Galaxy, scoring six goals and adding five assists in that time. Gonzalez, who captained the club for the first time in last month’s 2-1 win over Vancouver Whitecaps FC, has started all but one of those matches and he will move into a tie with Ezra Hendrickson for 10th place in club history with his next start. He has also started all 17 postseason games that the Galaxy have played since 2009, scoring twice, including the game-tying goal in MLS Cup 2012 against Houston, while adding an assist. One of six players to start for the Galaxy in the 2009, 2011 and 2012 MLS Cups, Gonzalez has played every minute in 16 of those 17 games, only having to be replaced when he was injured late in regulation of MLS Cup 2009 against Real Salt Lake.

In addition to his exploits with the Galaxy Gonzalez has established himself this year with the U.S. National Team. He has collected 10 of his 12 caps in 2013, starting in all six World Cup Qualifiers that the U.S. have played while also appearing in the CONCACAF Gold Cup Final late last month.

Gonzalez and the Galaxy will be back in action on Saturday, August 17 when they host Real Salt Lake at StubHub Center. That game, which is presented by Herbalife, kicks off at 7:30 p.m. and will be shown live on Time Warner Cable SportsNet and Time Warner Cable Deportes. Prior to the game, the Galaxy will host their annual Alumni Game, which will feature a number of past Galaxy greats against the Galaxy Academy U-18’s in a game that kicks off at 5 p.m. For more information about this game or to purchase tickets, please visit the club’s official website or call 877-3GALAXY (342-5299).

--- LA Galaxy presented by Herbalife ---