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DeLaGarza named 2014 MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year

AJDeLaGarzaLAGalaxy1-FCDallas2014MLS (USATODAYSports)


Photo by Tim Heitman/ USA Today Sports


LA Galaxy defender A.J. DeLaGarza has been named Major League Soccer’s 2014 WORKS Humanitarian of the Year, the league announced Tuesday.

Finalists for the 2014 WORKS Humanitarian of the Year included FC Dallas defender Zach Loyd and Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Chara. DeLaGarza took the honor with over four times as many votes as any other player.

DeLaGarza’s year has been filled with adversity. In April, his son Luca was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect known as “Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome” before being born. News spread and the soccer and sports world responded with an outpouring of love, highlighted by the “Luca Knows Heart” campaign where thousands joined the DeLaGarza family in support of his young son.

DeLaGarza responded admirably himself, helping raise over $25,000 for the Heart Center at CHLA in support of families affected by the condition. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome affects 1 out of every 4,344 babies born in the United States every year.

Luca passed away on Sept. 5. A.J. and his wife, Megan, made the announcement with a tweet that read, “Heaven gained another angel yesterday.” Galaxy fans honored Luca’s life on Sept. 5 prior to their match against the Colorado Rapids with a moment of silence, followed by applause during the 20th minute of the match (A.J. dons No. 20 in honor of Luca’s memory).

On top of his work relating to Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, DeLaGarza has been a prominent figure around the Los Angeles community. He has given his time to several organizations including Campers for Kids, while also making contributions like a new soccer field in South Los Angeles.

Major League Soccer will honor DeLaGarza’s work by donating $5,000 to his choice of charity.

In five years with the LA Galaxy, DeLaGarza has helped capture two MLS Cups and Supporters’ Shields. He and the Galaxy remain in the hunt for another Cup this season. They’re currently on leg two of the Western Conference Finals against the Seattle Sounders.


What do you make of today’s announcement relating to DeLaGarza’s work off the field this season?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I’m sorry some of his work was precipitated by his own tragedy. It seems MLS should be able to do better than $5,000 though. That’s pretty cheap.

    • And the MLS Works Award for Insensitive comment of the year goes to…Bossoccer. Your comment is akin to saying the first responders on 911 were only heroes because planes being flown into the WTC precipitated it.

  2. Congrats to AJ. A very well deserved honor. As a father of two I in no way could imagine the pain he and his wife endure every day and will so for years to come. His actions in a time of tradgedy are beyond admirable.

  3. @oldschool who was that even a reply to it makes no sense

    anyways happy for AJ well deserved and is the most underrated CB in MLS. extremely versatile and consistent. easily should’ve been in the defender of the year discussion

  4. Finalists for the 2014 WORKS Humanitarian of the Year included FC Dallas defender Zach Loyd

    Remember that brief time when people were screaming for him to be in the national team discussion?

      • I disagree. I don’t want any USMNT players anywhere close to this list. That type of benevolence can bleed through and poison the locker room, ultimately making the team soft.


  5. AJ should also be up for the Father of the Year and Husband of the Year awards, too. The strength he’s shown, battling with the hurt and pain, is more than admirable — it’s outright courageous. Many people could not have marched on. Instead, he (and his wife) have used and will continue to use Luca’s short life as an avenue to help others.

  6. congrats AJDLG. couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. He should have been up for Defender of the Year too, instead of Omar. I’ll bet Omar would agree. He played 29 matches at all four back line positions on the best defense in the league. Maybe he doesn’t beat out Chad Marshall – although I’m not sure why not – but he was certainly top three this year.

    • Being in Omar’s shadow (literally in some cases), I’m always happy when AJ gets some recognition. But not too much, because as a LAG fan I want the rest of the league to overlook him!!!


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