Gonzalez becomes first American defender to sign a DP contract.
The Los Angeles Galaxy have signed centre defender Omar Gonzalez to a multi-year contract, making the 24 year-old the first American defender to sign a DP contract in MLS history.
“To be the first Galaxy and US defender to be named as a Designated Player is a great honour for me”, Gonzalez said in a statement. “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.”
As per league policy, terms of the agreement were not released. Gonzalez joins forwards Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane as the other DPs on the roster for the Galaxy, who with Thursday’s move appear to be done making high-profile international signings this season ahead of a push for their third consecutive MLS Cup.
Gonzalez is only the third defender in league history to sign a Designated Player contract although the previous two (Rafael Marquez and Torsten Frings), were largely used as midfield players during their time in MLS.
LA Galaxy were was named Rookie of the Year in 2009 before earning MLS Best XI selections in 2010 and 2011. He was also named the MLS Defender of the Year award in 2011 and, after scoring the goal that kick-started the Galaxy’s comeback from a 1-0 halftime deficit, earned the 2012 MLS Cup MVP last December.
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. 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.
Gonzalez had also been linked to Premier League side Stoke City and Mexican side Club America, but his decision to remain in MLS gives further testament to the League’s development and pulling power.