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Zardes looking to fulfill family’s dream in first MLS Cup Final

GyasiZardesLAGalaxy1-NewEnglandRevolution2014MLS (USATodaySportsImages)

Photo by Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports


CARSON, Calif. —Since the league’s inaugural season in 1996, the LA Galaxy have advanced to eight MLS Cup finals, none of which have been attended by current forward and local homegrown star Gyasi Zardes.

“This is my first one. I didn’t really like the big crowds,” Zardes joked Saturday, “as far as when you try to leave after and everything that goes on.”

The 23-year-old will get the chance to take in his first MLS Cup final on field level Sunday, when Zardes and his hometown LA Galaxy take on the New England Revolution within the friendly confines of StubHub Center, a venue roughly 10 miles from the 23-year-old attacker’s hometown of Hawthorne, Calif.

Although the focus remains on keeping things as normal as possible in the buildup to the game, Sunday’s action will give Zardes much more than an opportunity to participate in his first MLS Cup final.

The 6-foot-2 youngster’s family will make the short commute to StubHub Center to watch Zardes play, much like they have throughout the duration of his soccer career, making for an even more special occasion.

“All of my family is from here, so they’ll all be here,” Zardes said. “It means a lot to me personally because they’ve been around since I’ve been playing soccer at the age of four. They’ve always been at my games.

“Just to have them, this is not just my dream, it’s my family’s dream as well. They’re living this dream with me, so it’s phenomenal to have them here to watch me play.”

That dream has seen Zardes rise from local youth star to first-team player to being on the cusp of stardom. That rise will now give Zardes a chance at MLS glory, as well as the opportunity to live out a childhood fantasy engrained in him since he started playing the game.

“We thought about this when I played in the youth academy all the time,” Zardes added. “That was the main goal of the youth academy, to work hard and work your way into the first team, to play in games such as this, championship games.”

While Zardes knows full well that Sunday’s action will be unlike anything he has experienced in his brief career, he is trying to stay focused on the task at hand. He is going into the game with the mindset that Sunday’s game is just like any other, even with his family being in attendance and a championship being on the line.

“I’ve been very excited but at the same time I’ve been working hard and treating it like any other game because they’re just another opponent,” said Zardes. “I just want to stick to my methods and do the same thing I do for each and every single game.”


  1. So the rumors are Cubo Torres only wants to play for the Galaxy if he’s going to stay in MLS. Is that a move the league should make or would people see it as unfair? Is Cubo worth a DP contract, and what would that mean for Zardes? Interesting situation to see how it plays out.


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