Los Angeles Football Club has already made a big splash in every aspect, from its new stadium to its coach (Bob Bradley) and now with its first Designated Player.
The club officially announced Wednesday that it had signed Mexican international Carlos Vela.
Vela, 28, is currently playing with Real Sociedad in Spain. He will remain with the club for the rest of 2017, before joining LAFC on Jan. 1, in time for the team’s first training camp. Real Sociedad’s new season begins Aug. 19.
LAFC debuts in Major League Soccer next season.
“This is another momentous day for LAFC,” General Manager and Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations John Thorrington said. “Carlos (Vela) is a player who will excite our fans. He is the exact type and profile of player we have been targeting.”
Vela will be introduced Friday at 9 a.m. under Space Shuttle Endeavour at the California Science Center’s Samuel Oschin Pavilion.
There’s also a fan rally at Exposition Park on Friday at 5 p.m.
Vela has scored 72 goals in all competitions for Real Sociedad. He has been in Spain since 2011, making more than 200 appearances. He was twice named the Real Sociedad Player of the Year (2011-12 and 2013-14).
Before that, Vela played for Arsenal and West Bromwich Albion in the English Premier League. He’s also scored 55 goals with the Mexican national team.
Aside from his club commitments, Vela has also been a key contributor for the Mexican national team. He was a member of the 2010 World Cup squad and has appeared in 55 games with El Tri. He also helped Mexico win the 2005 U-17 World Cup.
“He’s an exciting attacking player capable of scoring and setting up goals,” LAFC coach Bob Bradley said. “He has played in big matches in the Premiership and La Liga and will help establish the style and tempo that we want to build at LAFC.
Vela becomes the third current Mexican national team member to join Major League Soccer, with the dos Santos brothers playing for the Galaxy.
He’s the third member of the Mexican team who had been linked to LAFC. The club reportedly had talks with forward Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, but he eventually signed with West Ham United of the EPL. The club also courted Andres Guardado, but he went to Real Betis in Spain.
Terms of Vela’s deal were not disclosed, but since his contract with Real Sociedad runs through next year, LAFC had to pay a transfer fee, which reportedly exceeded $5 million.
All MLS clubs have three Designated Player…