CARSON, Calif. (Wednesday, January 19, 2011) – The LA Galaxy announced today that the club has signed forward Juan Pablo Angel to a multi-year contract. The 35-year-old Colombian was selected by the Galaxy in the first round (5th overall) of Stage 2 of the MLS Re-Entry Process last month after spending the previous four seasons with the New York Red Bulls. In that time, no player scored more goals in MLS than Angel, who has 58 goals in 102 career regular season games in the league. Angel will become the third Designated Player on the Galaxy’s roster, joining David Beckham and Landon Donovan. Per club and league policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.
“We’re excited to be able to add Juan Pablo Angel to our club and I believe that he will play a major role in our success this season,” Galaxy general manager and head coach Bruce Arena said. “He has been one of the best goalscorers in MLS over the last four years and I fully expect that he will be a productive and consistent player in a Galaxy uniform.”
Angel came to MLS in 2007 when he signed with the New York Red Bulls, who were then coached by Bruce Arena. The club’s all-time leading scorer with 61 goals in all competitions, he set a Red Bull record in his first season by scoring 19 goals in 24 games, earning MLS Best XI honors and being named a finalist for the MLS MVP award. One year later, Angel helped lead the Red Bulls to MLS Cup for the first time in club history, scoring a team-best 14 goals and then adding two more in the postseason.
In 2009, Angel again led the Red Bulls in scoring, tallying 12 goals in 25 games while serving as the club’s captain. He was named to his third All-Star team in 2010, as he scored 13 goals and helped the Red Bulls finish atop the Eastern Conference standings with a 15-9-6 record. He set MLS career-highs in games played (30), games started (29) and minutes played (2,593) while finishing third in the league in goals.
“I’m very happy to join a team like the LA Galaxy, a tremendous organization with great players and a coach that knows me and that I know as well,” Angel said. “I’m anxious to start this new challenge in my life and will do my best to bring back another championship to this city. The Galaxy fans are some of the greatest fans in the league, they provide great atmosphere and I can’t wait to play in front of them.
“I want to take this opportunity to show my appreciation for the Red Bull supporters, me and my family will always be grateful for the love and support they gave us. I also want to thank the organization for allowing me to be part of their club. I spent four great years in New York and I will remember my time there fondly.”
Prior to coming to MLS, Angel, who began his professional career at the age of 18, had spent time playing in Argentina, Colombia and England. He began his career in his native Colombia with Nacional Medellin in 1993 before joining River Plate in Argentina in 1997. He spent four years with River Plate, averaging nearly a goal every two games before joining Aston Villa of the English Premier League in January 2001 in what was a then-club record transfer. In seven years at Aston Villa, Angel scored 44 goals in 175 Premier League appearances and more than 60 goals in all competitions.
A former Colombian international, Angel scored nine goals in 33 appearances for his country, making his debut in November 1996 at the age of 21.
Angel and the Galaxy will open the 2011 MLS season on Tuesday, March 15 when they head to Seattle to take on the Seattle Sounders FC at Qwest Field in MLS First Kick 2011