COLUMBUS – Columbus Crew SC today announced that the club has acquired forward Gyasi Zardes from the LA Galaxy in exchange for forward Ola Kamara and $400,000 in Targeted Allocation Money for the 2018 MLS season. Should Kamara score 12 or more goals for the Galaxy, Crew SC will receive an additional $100,000 in Targeted Allocation Money.
Zardes, 26, is a five-year MLS veteran and a 2014 MLS Cup-winner. At the international level, he has earned 37 caps with the U.S. Men’s National Team.
“We are excited to welcome Gyasi to Columbus. Gyasi is a talented forward that has been successful in this League and with the U.S. Men’s National Team. He is a high character individual and has a bright future in Major League Soccer and with our club,” said Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter. “In addition to what we know Gyasi will bring to our playing system, we have received significant additional resources to help the club as we build our roster for the 2018 campaign. We want to thank Ola for his two successful seasons with our club and we wish him the best in the next chapter of his career.”
The 26-year-old has spent the past five seasons with the Galaxy, where he has made 131 regular-season appearances (116 starts), registering 34 goals and 17 assists. A product of the LA Galaxy Youth Academy, Zardes played for the Under-18 and U-20 sides before being signed by the LA Galaxy as a Homegrown Player on December 20, 2012. He made his debut for the club in a substitute appearance during a 2-0 win over Real Salt Lake on April 27, 2013. Zardes went on to make 27 regular-season appearances (23 starts) during his rookie year, tallying four goals and four assists.
In 2014, Zardes recorded career-highs in regular-season appearances (32) and goals (16), while also providing two assists en route to winning the 2014 MLS Cup, a match in which he scored the opening goal for the Galaxy. 2015 saw the forward make 29 regular-season appearances (27 starts) while tallying six goals and four assists. The following year, Zardes recorded a career-high five assists and scored six goals in 19 regular-season appearances (17 starts) before suffering a season-ending foot injury in August which sidelined him for the remainder of the 2016 season. Zardes returned in 2017, making 24 regular-season appearances (23 starts), scoring two goals and notching two assists.
Zardes has been a prominent member of the U.S. Men’s National team, earning 37 caps (29 starts) and tallying six goals since making his debut in a friendly against Chile on January 28, 2015. He scored his first goal for the Stars and Stripes in a 4-3 win against the Netherlands on June 5, 2015. Zardes’s most recent cap came in a 2-1 victory over Jamaica in the 2017 Gold Cup on July 27. On January 8 of 2018, he was among the players called up by Dave Sarachan for the U.S. Men’s January Camp.
At the collegiate level, Zardes played for the Cal State University Bakersfield Roadrunners from 2010-2012, scoring 33 goals and providing 18 assists in 56 appearances. In 2011, the forward led the Roadrunners to a berth in the NCAA Division I Tournament for the first time in school history en route to being selected the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Player of the Year.
Kamara, 28, played two seasons in Columbus and recorded 34 goals in 59 regular-season appearances (53 starts) for the Black & Gold. He was Crew SC’s leading scorer in each of the last two seasons, winning the club’s Golden Boot Award for his 16 goals in 2016 and his 18 goals in 2017. Kamara departs having scored the eighth-most goals in club history and tied for seventh in multi-goal games (five).
In 2017, Kamara tallied 18 goals in regular-season action, finished fifth in the 2017 MLS Golden Boot race and earned Crew SC’s Golden Boot award. Kamara’s 18 strikes tied him with Stern John’s 1998 output for third place in Crew SC’s list of most goals scored during a single regular season. The 18 tallies set a new MLS career-high for the Norwegian forward, who topped his record from the previous season by two goals. 2017 also saw Kamara score against 15 different opponents during the regular season, which tied Mike Magee's 2013 record of most teams scored against in a single regular season.
Under Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter, the 2018 MLS Preseason begins on Wednesday, January 24, at SuperKick in Lewis Center, Ohio after entrance physicals and testing. From there, the club departs to Casa Grande, Arizona for its preseason camp on Friday, January 26. Crew SC is slated to remain in Arizona through February 6 before traveling to Honolulu, Hawaii to participate in the inaugural Pacific Rim Cup from February 6-11. Following the conclusion of the Pacific Rim Cup, the club travels to Charleston, South Carolina to participate in the 2018 Carolina Challenge Cup.
With the addition of Zardes, Crew SC's current 2018 roster – listed alphabetically below – now stands at 24 players:
Goalkeepers (3): Jon Kempin, Logan Ketterer, Zack Steffen
Defenders (7): Lalas Abubakar, Harrison Afful, Alex Crognale, Connor Maloney, Jonathan Mensah, Gaston Sauro, Josh Williams
Midfielders (11): Mohammed Abu, Artur, Niko Hansen, Federico Higuain, Mike Grella, Hector Jimenez, Cristian Martinez, Justin Meram, Pedro Santos, Eduardo Sosa, Wil Trapp
Forwards (3): Adam Jahn, Edward Opoku, Gyasi Zardes
Columbus Crew SC acquires forward Gyasi Zardes and $400,000 in Targeted Allocation Money from the LA Galaxy in exchange for forward Ola Kamara on January 20, 2018. Should Kamara score 12 or more goals for the Galaxy, Crew SC would receive $100,000 in Targeted Allocation Money.
Name: Gyasi Zardes (pronounced: JAH-see sar-DES)
Born: September 2, 1991 in Los Angeles, California
Hometown: Hawthorne, California
Citizenship: United States
Acquired: Acquired by Crew SC from the LA Galaxy in exchange for forward Ola Kamara
Previous Experience: LA Galaxy (2013-2017)