Congratulations Omar Gonzalez on being named 2009 MLS Rookie of the Year
November 11, 2009 09:00 PM
By Michael Anderson, USYouthSoccer.org
L.A. Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez is only 21 years old, and he might just have the biggest trophy case of any member of his star-studded club, including David Beckham and Landon Donovan. The former US Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program (US Youth Soccer ODP) Region III star played on one of the most prolific youth club teams in history with the Dallas Texans Red 88. That team captured numerous tournament titles over the years, including back-to-back-to-back US Youth Soccer National Championships, and on Thursday Gonzalez was able to add the MLS Rookie of the Year trophy to his collection.
Gonzalez started down the road to success playing on the US Youth Soccer ODP North Texas and Region III teams. Eventually Gonzalez was invited to attend U.S. Soccer's Under-17 residency program, and participated in the 2005 FIFA U-17 World Cup and the 2007 U-20 Pan-American Games. As a member of the Dallas Texans, he won three consecutive National Championships and became the first domestic team to win the famed Dallas Cup Super Group. That team led the way for the club as a whole as the Dallas Texans now claim more National Championships than any other club in the country with 11.
After finishing his youth soccer with one of the best teams of all time, Gonzalez moved on to the University of Maryland where he picked up an NCAA championship and was named a semifinalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy while garnering NSCAA All-American, First Team All-ACC, College Cup Defensive MVP, ACC Defensive Player of the Year and All-ACC Freshman awards.
As the third overall pick in last year's MLS SuperDraft, Gonzales acknowledged the role that the US Youth Soccer National Championships and US Youth Soccer ODP played in his success in moving toward a professional career. Gonzalez started all 30 regular season games for the Galaxy in his first season and helped the team improve from one of the worst defenses in MLS in 2008 to one of the best in 2009.
Gonzalez already has his eyes set on another trophy this year as the Galaxy face the Houston Dynamo this weekend in the Western Conference final, with a chance to move on to the MLS Cup.