Minnesota United FC Signs Australian National Team Player Richard Garcia
Minnesota United FC today announced it has signed former English Premier League and recent Australian National Team midfielder Richard Garcia. Garcia joins Minnesota for the 2014 North American Soccer League (NASL) Spring Season.
“We are excited to add a player with the experience that Richard Garcia brings to the table,” said United Head Coach, Manny Lagos. “He has been a player that’s had a great career all over the globe and we are thrilled to add someone of his quality to our team.”
The 32-year-old 5’11” Garcia has made 18 appearances for the Australian National Team, including the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and 2014 World Cup qualifying matches. The versatile midfielder moved to England to join the famed West Ham Academy and spent his first twelve seasons in England, including two seasons in the English Premier League with Hull City and the English Championship League with West Ham United, Hull and Colchester. In 2012-13, Garcia signed a 1-year contract with the Melbourne Heart in Australian A-League, where he scored six goals and tallied four assists, earning the club’s MVP, Golden Boot and Supporter’s Player of the Year awards.
"This is a great opportunity for me to continue playing uninterrupted from the A-League season, and I am very excited to join Minnesota United FC with the goal to help the club secure a spot in the NASL Championship,” said Garcia. “I have been paying close attention to the team from Australia and am pleased that the club has set a high standard securing the full twelve points so far in the NASL Spring season.”
Garcia joins United after playing with Sydney FC in the top league in Australia where he played alongside current United defender and 2014 offseason signing Tiago Calvano. Garcia is the first player on Minnesota’s roster who has played in a World Cup and the Premier League.
Garcia, on playing with Calvano: "I expect my transition to be much easier after playing with Tiago at Sydney this past season. Our wives became friendly and children are similar ages. Tiago has already been a great help providing a strong recommendation about the club and local community. I cannot wait to join my teammates and look forward to meeting everyone in Minnesota.”
“It’s nice to bring in a player who has played at the highest level and represented his country in the biggest soccer tournament in the world,” said Lagos. “I think that’s unique in itself to have a player like that come to Minnesota, but first and foremost we are excited to get a good quality person and player.”
The addition of Garcia will help bolster the Minnesota attack after losing star forward,Pablo Campos to a knee injury in the preseason. Garcia marks Minnesota’s 10th signing since the end of the 2013 NASL campaign.
See Garcia in action on Saturday, May 17, when Minnesota United FC returns home to play the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. Tickets are still available. Visit our ticketing website to secure yours today!
With the signing of Garcia, Minnesota’s current 2014 roster consists of the following 27 players:
Goalkeepers: Matt VanOekel, Mitch Hildebrandt, and Andrew Fontein
Defenders: Tiago Calvano, Justin Davis, Cristiano Dias, Brent Kallman, Brian Kallman, Aaron Pitchkolan, Tyler Polak, and Kevin Venegas
Midfielders: Omar Daley, Richard Garcia, Floyd Franks, Mozzi Gyorio, Miguel Ibarra, Greg Jordan, Michael Reed, Kentaro Takada, Juliano Vicentini, and Jamie Watson
Forwards: Simone Bracalello, Pablo Campos, Daniel Mendes, Nate Polak, Mackenzie Pridham, and Christian Ramirez