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- DOB October 11, 1988
- Age 24
- Place of birth Dallas, Texas
- POSITION Defender
- HEIGHT 6'5"
- WEIGHT 210
- U.S. CAPS 6
- CLUB LA Galaxy
- TWITTER @omar4gonzalez (16.4K followers)
- ASN 100 Rank 9
- Previous ASN 100 Rank 15
- Youth Experience U-17, U-20
To many American supporters, Omar Gonzalez represents the future of the United States back line. He’s a force in the air. He’s calm on the ball. He’s a proven winner. And he has the sort of résumé that portends great things.
A standout at the University of Maryland, Gonzalez won the 2008 College Cup championship and was named a first team All-American. In 2009 the Los Angeles Galaxy drafted Gonzalez third overall and he justified the high pick, earning MLS Rookie of the Year honors. The following season he made his first MLS All-Star game and was named to the MLS Best XI team. Continuing this upward trajectory in 2011, Gonzalez was an all-star, made the Best XI, was named the league’s Defender of the Year, and won an MLS Cup.
Despite these accolades, and despite playing a position where the U.S. is decidedly thin, Gonzalez has just two caps to his name—both during Bob Bradley’s reign. Some pundits argue that Gonzalez is a poor distributor out of the back, but you don't have to watch more than a few minutes of any Galaxy match to see that this is not the case. U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann did call Gonzalez in for the January 2012 training camp, but Gonzalez withdrew when he was loaned to Nuremberg of the German Bundesliga. In his first training session with Nuremberg, Gonzalez collided with U.S. international defender Timothy Chandler and suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
Gonzalez recovered ahead of schedule and is now back playing with the Galaxy, but will he ever play for the Stars and Stripes again? Prior to his knee injury Klinsmann snubbed Gonzalez repeatedly, selecting questionable defenders in his place while American supporters howled with disapproval. Gonzalez, who has dual Mexican-American citizenship, has said he would consider playing for Mexico if El Tri approached him.
It's hard to blame Gonzalez when you consider the treatment he has received so far. The big defender likely will have some big decisions ahead of him as World Cup qualification progresses.—JOHN GODFREY
Noteworthy ReadsIs LA's Championship Backline Set to Dominate Again? (MLSSoccer.com)
Gonzalez Still Open to Playing for El Tri (ESPN.com)
Galaxy's Gonzalez Named Defender of the Year (MLSSoccer.com)