Galaxy sign Zardes to Homegrown Player deal


The Los Angeles Galaxy will have some roster tweaking to do this off-season after the departure of David Beckham and trading away of Edson Buddle, but one of the bigger priorities of their off-season has been completed with the signing of a young player with a very bright future.

The Galaxy completed the signing of CSU-Bakersfield forward Gyasi Zardes to a Homegrown Player deal on Thursday, landing the most highly-rated player in college soccer in the process.

Zardes passed on offers from German clubs Freiburg and Nuremberg to sign with the Galaxy.

Boasting blazing speed, strong finishing ability and good size, Zardes was on the radar of several European clubs but ultimately reached a contract agreement with the Galaxy that is expected to make him the highest-paid rookie in MLS in 2013. From a talent standpoint Zardes would have been the clear-cut No. 1 player in the MLS Draft had he been eligible, and not a Galaxy Academy product.

Zardes had recently trained with German Bundesliga side Freiburg, which sources tell SBI made Zardes a contract offer, which helped him in negotiations with MLS and the Galaxy, which had been trying to sign him since last year.

What do you think of this development?

Share your thoughts below.

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56 Responses to Galaxy sign Zardes to Homegrown Player deal

  1. QuakerOtis says:

    Ives, call me lazy, but have you done a more in depth piece on this kid before? Any way you could link that?

  2. Nate Dollars says:

    so, am i right in assuming this kid will be starter-quality in his rookie year? never seen him play; is he really projected to be that good?

    also, is he eligible for usmnt?

    • Nate Dollars says:

      i can only assume my comment was ‘awaiting moderation’ because all my sentences ended in question marks.

  3. 2tone says:

    Talneted player that could potentially be a starter for the Galaxy this up coming season.

  4. Nick says:

    He’s going to start. If he had an offer from Freiburg and he came home there had to be some promise of consistent playing time given he shows in training. Great move by the Galaxy and great scouting on their part early on.

    • Noah says:

      Maybe…but the forward combo of Landon and Keane has been excellent for LA. Obviously it’s still up in the air whether Landon will come back, and Landon could shift back to the midfield because of departures there. But I still think anointing him a starter is premature.

      Ives said if he’d be in the draft, he’d be the #1 pick, which means it certainly means it would be a surprise to get major minutes. Then again, the last couple #1 picks, Wenger and Salgado, were not auto-starters their first year.

      • Nick says:

        I got a little overzealous there. I feel that he is going to be a major contributor. It takes time to adapt to the league, but he’s going to be ready.

    • T-lover says:

      maybe the reserve league,might have lured him.

  5. Dainja says:

    Really like this move for the league: occasionally keeping top domestic talent stateside first, then send them off to Europe once they have success here.

  6. Old School says:

    “Zardes passed on offers from German clubs Freiburg and Nuremberg to sign with the Galaxy.”

    That’s a trend I’d love to see grow and continue.

    • Footballer says:

      The offer was not good enough plus he might not be good enough either. If he was he would be in Europe getting spotted by top scouts immediately not MLS where no one will get to see him unless he plays in MLS Cup; scouts don’t just fly over here but in Europe a lot easy a commute.

  7. PanchoMiguelMoralesdeConejo says:

    From the video clips- which is all I’ve seen of the kid, I’d rate him behind Villareal in the pecking order.

    • Benny Dargle says:

      Different players really. Zardes is a ton faster and a lot taller than Villareal. They would be used in different situations and in different spots on the field. Villareal is more of the withdrawn striker-type.

    • Edwin in LA says:

      Villareal has one full year of pro experience and 2 full years almost of youth on him so is kind of like Benny Dargle said, depending on the situation they will be deployed differently. I think if Donovan can stay on the right wing and they can partner up the Blazing fast Zardes with Keane or the technical Villareal with Keane that should work wonders for the Galaxy’s offense and give Keane someone to play off of when defenders collapse on him to pass and assist to or help make space for him self on those great runs he makes… all 3 young forwards McBean, Villareal & Zardes will learn tons….this means a lot of tools for Magee to score and assist as well…

      • Juando says:

        I wouldn’t pencil these youngsters in as starters just yet. LA needs to sprinkle these guys in over time. They need to add more experience at striker.

  8. somedude says:

    LA Galaxy’s homegrown signings are too legit. They’re going to be loaded for a long time.

  9. Gary Page says:

    Anytime the MLS can beat out the Bundesliga for a player it has to be good. Good move by the Galaxy who also have a couple of promising youngsters in McBean and Villarreal. Trading Buddle looks like a smart move.

  10. miggy says:

    Dempsey, Howard, Bocanegra, Altidore, Parkhurst, Kljestian, etc. All started their pro careers in MLS and now are playing in the best euro leagues. I hope MLS uses that as a recruiting tool.

  11. Dudester says:

    Where does that leave McBean who’s behind Villareal and now Zardes

    • Benny Dargle says:

      Another different type of player (much like Zardes and Villareal are very different). McBean is a target striker who provides physical hold-up play. Absent more signings, he is probably in line for getting some of Buddle’s or Chad Barrett’s late game sub minutes as a defensive forward type to protect a lead. You saw a glimpse of that in the Portland game this year at the HDC when Buddle was unavailable and he came on to replace Chad Barrett. He actually did an OK job of shielding the ball and drawing fouls and free kicks in dangerous spots. Given his age and continuing physical development and experience, you would expect him to become better at that role.

    • Gnarls says:

      I don’t know the answer, but it’s a really great problem for the Galaxy to have. McBean played most of his minutes in the CCL group stage. We’ll probably see him there again.

      • Edwin in LA says:

        I meant to reply to you but wrote it as a comment on it’s own, but my post below is meant for you

    • miggy says:

      Loan Villarreal to a 2nd division team in Mexico or McBean to a lower team in Scotland.

      • T-lover says:

        For what? when the new reserve league, is ready you can put them there.

      • Edwin in LA says:

        No Buddle means one of the 3 young prospects could easily start….and Donovan can go to Midfield now that Beckham is gone….Plus I think Noonan is gone as well so all 3 young guns can dress with 1 starting and the other 2 being back up forwards on the bench so you have a good 2 FW, 2 MF, 2 DF as a bench…Villareal and I think Zardes can probably be used in the wing at MF if need be too…plus Keane will miss a game or two with Ireland during the WC Qualifying campaign….right in the beginning I hope Galaxy focuses on beating Alajuelense and maybe plays the young forward in the 1st 2 MLS games a good amount to keep Keane fresh…

        • Juando says:

          No Buddle means LA has to pick up an experienced vet. None of these kids should be forced into the starting lineup. They will see time though.

          • limey says:

            A cardboard cutout would have been as effective as Buddle this year.

          • Edwin in LA says:

            McBean my still be a teenager but he’s 3 year veteran now and is one of the top scorers in CCL….Villareal showed he can play this year there’s more than enough veteran presence in the Galaxy to have ONE young guy start with Keane, Donovan, Juninho, Sarvas, Magee, Franklin, Omar, AJ, Dunnivant and a bunch others have AT LEAST 4 years experience…Meyer is the only guy coming off his rookie season but AJ will probably challenge him and regain his starting CB spot…

            They can easily sprinkle in the young guys to get them minutes

  12. Edwin in LA says:

    McBean BARELY turned 18 on Saturday literary and Villareal is only 19 which he turned 3 months ago, so while Zardes may be better now and faster, but Villareal has about 2 years of youth and time to develop on Zardes and a full year as a pro on the best team in MLS under his belt on him as opposed to 3 years of College Soccer at CSU Bakersfield…..McBean has 2 seasons on him and 3 years almost of youth so I think they will all fight to be a starter or regular contributor on the 1st team, one thing is for sure tho, the Reserves might win their conference again…..

    • Dudester says:

      Yeah but this signing will hurt both Villareal and McBean’s playing time as all three are fighting for fwd spots and time regardless if their different type of players.Regarding this situation why don’t season long loans to NASL or USL happen more often cause a guy like McBean or even Villareal would benefit greatly.

      • Neal says:

        We’d gladly take either one on Tampa Bay for a season!

      • Benny Dargle says:

        Actually, the word is that USL pro and MLS are working toward an integrated league where MLS reserve teams either play in the USL pro or are affiliated with existing USL Pro teams and can place 5 players on that team at a time. It will make for an expanded season and many more games for players who aren’t playing regular minutes with the senior team.

        • Gnarls says:

          I hope that works out. Seems like the missing puzzle piece in connecting average MLS fans with lower division soccer. If our young, developing MLS players are playing regularly in “2.MLS,” cultivating another level of competition, I could the average Joe actually paying attention.

        • Edwin in LA says:

          I think some are forgetting that there is no Buddle or Wilhelmsson so even if Donovan is up top….who plays right mid on the wing? Villareal can play there and it can almost be like a morphing of a 4-4-2 into a 4-3-3 from time to time…and you could have the other 2 young guys on the bench dressed on most days…Noonan is gone too so no other back up other than McBean who was on the bench most of the time last year towards the last 4 months of the MLS season and he started most CCL games. I think what will happen is Donovan will play MF, and 1 of the young guns will partner with Keane, with the remaining 2 on the bench no problem for minutes with CCL in the beginning and end of season, US Open Cup, all the friendlies Galaxy plays in summer plus international call ups for Keane & possibly Donovan

      • beachbum says:

        not necessarily.the Glaxy have a lot of games to play next year. All should see opportunites

    • Gnarls says:

      Zardes, McBean and Villareal are three very different players. I think the Bruce will have use for each of them in different gameday scenarios, but you’re right, it’s going to be a fight among three talented young’un for first team league play. Luckily we’ll have CCL and USOC for them to get games, and if the stars align properly we’ll have a new and improved reserve league.

  13. bottlcaps says:

    McBean just turned 18 and now can be bought or loaned overseas. Players under 18 (unless there is a special circumstance) can only be signed to a pro contract by there home nation. McBean is the third leading scorer in the CCL and has been brought along slowly by Arena (as has Villareal). In a packed and very talented team such as the Galaxy, playing time for players is very competitive and hard to come by. Even Sarvas had a tough time breaking into the starting rotation. But injuries & call-ups do occur and everybody gets a chance to impress. For the Galaxy with Beckham, it means a lot of foreign eyes too. There is no secret that the Youth coach for Scotland has asked McBean to join, and there is more than one team in Scotland (and England) who have been watching him. With a UK passport, a work permit is easier to come by, and US players are a bargain. I expect at some time if he doesn’t get playing time, McBean mat be loaned, but I’m sure the Galaxy would like to see him get more 1st team action before thay make a decision.

    There are a lot of indicators that Donovan is coming back sometime in the spring, and the fact that the NYRB have filled their DP slot with a Brazilian and the fact that for Real Madrid, selling KaKa this winter makes sense,but whether the Galaxy want to pony up a big transfer fee is yet to be seen though. I expect Zardes to get a shot up front sometime this season. If he impresses in the pre-season maybe earlier,

    The Reserve team for the Galaxy won the MLS western Division this year So he is stepping into a successful program just in the reserves.

    • Dudester says:

      Juninho is not on dp salary if that’s who you mean.Also I would like to know if Zardes can play out wide.People here have said he has pace and skill on the ball so he might be able to play there with a slower Donovan through the middle with Keane or vice versa.

  14. Calinick23 says:

    I used to play indoor soccer with him at Cal State Bakersfield, very skillfull on the ball, but i could really never though he was that good lol, he always seemed like he was holding back not trying very hard.

  15. Daniel Williams says:

    I would have prefered him to have been at a better soccer program. St Louis,Indiana,UCLA,UCSB,or Maryland. But having seen him in High School he has awsome skills. BTW same high shcool as Kei Kamara. Luezinger in Lawndale CA.