Gonzalez becomes the first American defender to sign as a Designated Player in MLS history.
Omar Gonzalez has made history by signing a new Designated Player contract with LA Galaxy.
In doing so, Gonzalez becomes the first USA defender DP in MLS history.
Gonzalez’s previous contract was set to expire at the end of the 2013 season and the Galaxy were understandably desperate to retain the All-Star centre-back’s services.
“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.”
Gonzalez becomes the latest in an already impressive line of Galaxy Designated Players, following Robbie Keane, Landon Donovan and, of course, David Beckham. Gonzalez’s signing is not only a landmark for domestic MLS players, but also for defenders. In valuing a player playing in a traditionally un-glamourous position so highly, Galaxy are reflecting the growing maturity of the state of the game in America.
Gonzalez joins Rafael Marquez, formerly of New York Red Bulls, and ex-Toronto FC captain Torsten Frings as the only DP defenders in MLS history.
“We are pleased that Omar will remain with the Galaxy,” LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said in a statement. “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 Galaxy announced earlier this week that they hoped to sign a Designated Player on Thursday. However, with the MLS transfer window shut and no free agents on the horizon, it always seemed most likely that the influential Gonzalez would be the player to sign.