Chivas USA Sign Defender Carlos Bocanegra

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Former U.S. soccer captain Carlos Bocanegra is now a member of Chivas USA. (Facebook/Carlos Bocanegra)

Chivas USA announced today the signing of defender Carlos Bocanegra after receiving the first allocation ranking slot from Toronto FC in exchange for the 2015 Natural 1st Round SuperDraft pick and an international roster spot through 2014.

Bocanegra will be joining his teammates in Philadelphia, where Chivas USA will be training prior to their Friday, July 12 game against the Union. The defender will be eligible to play for Chivas USA once the summer transfer window opens on July 9, and pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate.

“This is great news for Chivas USA, as Carlos Bocanegra is a very experienced player with great image and with a strong desire to be in California after his time in European soccer,” said Chivas USA Sporting President Dennis te Kloese in a prepared statement. “I think his experience is going to be very valuable for us, as he knows MLS well from when he played for Chicago Fire, and has a long track record with the U.S. Men’s National Team.

“His arrival also reaffirms and strengthens the identity we are seeking in Chivas USA; a team with outstanding elements who give a little extra to Chivas USA. The great combination of his experience and being from Los Angeles will contribute a lot to Chivas USA.”

The center back joins Chivas USA from Spanish Segunda Division’s Real Racing de Santander, where he was on loan from Scottish side Rangers FC since Aug. 31, 2012.

Despite being sidelined for a month with a left hamstring injury suffered while on National Team duty last November, Bocanegra became a strong piece in Racing’s defensive line, starting in all 23 games played for the Spanish team.

“I’m very excited to join the club,” stated Bocanegra via a prepared statement. “I know it’s going to be a big challenge because the club hasn’t been getting the greatest results on the field but it’s something I’m looking forward to. The club has made me feel very welcomed and did a big effort to have me sign with the club so that I’ll be able to help try to turn the team around into being on the positive foot.

Bocanegra began his professional career with the Chicago Fire, as he was drafted fourth overall out of UCLA in the 2000 MLS SuperDraft. An established starter with the Fire, the 2000 MLS Rookie of the Year – who also earned back-to-back MLS Defender of the Year (2002 & ’03) honors – helped his team reach the 2000 MLS Cup Championship as well as the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup finals in 2000 and 2003.

A critical leader both on and off the field, he has led the National Team’s backline in two FIFA World Cups (Germany 2006; South Africa 2010), a Confederations Cup (South Africa 2009) and to four Gold Cup Finals (2002; ’07; ’09; ’11), where they twice came away champions (2002; ’07).

“It feels really good to be coming back home,” added Bocanegra. “I’ve been following MLS a lot more closely this year, and I got my start here in the League, so I’m excited to seeing personally how much the League has grown. I’ve noticed how it’s grown so much by following it on TV and the internet, but actually being out there on the field and being able to compete make me excited to see how the level has gotten better and how it’s grown.”

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