Gyasi Zardes Profile
|Born||Sep 02, 1991|
|Birthplace||Hawthorne, California, USA|
With over 200 MLS games under his belt, Gyasi Zardes is certainly an established American soccer player. The forward made his name at LA Galaxy but currently plays for Columbus Crew.
Zardes was born and raised in Hawthorne, California, a southwest suburb of Los Angeles. He grew up with four siblings and played soccer at Leuzinger High School.
He led the All-Bay League in scoring, was in the First Team selection, and became the MVP of the league's All-Star Game. He also played American Football at Leuzinger and was ranked as one of the top 30 kickers in California as a senior.
Early days at LA Galaxy
Zardes played in the US Soccer Development Academy in the 2008/09 and 2009/10 seasons with the Galaxy Academy. While redshirting his freshman season at Cal State Bakersfield, Zardes led the Galaxy U-20 team to the 2010 USL Super-20 Finals, where he scored their lone goal in a 2-1 defeat to Columbus Crew Juniors.
In his first season at Bakersfield in 2010, he was named the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Newcomer of the Year. Zardes scored five goals and led the team with seven assists while ranking sixth in the conference on points (goals + assists).
Zardes had a breakout season in 2011 as a redshirt sophomore for CSUB. In 20 games, he scored 18 times and led the Roadrunners to their first-ever NCAA Division I tournament.
He finished the season fourth in the country in goals scored and was named the MPSF Player of the Year. Zardes capped the season as a semifinalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy, awarded to the best collegiate player in the nation.
In 2012, he added 15 goals to his college tally with nine assists in 17 games.
Overall, he scored 33 collegiate goals with 18 assists while leading the Roadrunners to three straight winning seasons.
He left college after the 2012 season and signed with MLS side LA Galaxy as a homegrown player on December 20, 2012. Zardes made his Galaxy debut on April 27, 2013, and scored his first professional goal on May 11.
Breaking into the first team
As a rookie, he played 27 times with 23 starts in the regular season, finishing with four goals and four assists. Zardes started twice in the MLS Cup playoffs and finished fourth in the MLS Rookie of the Year voting.
Zardes had a fantastic 2014 season, scoring 16 goals in 32 games with two assists. The 16 goals were the most in league history for a homegrown player and sixth-highest in MLS in 2014.
He also tallied the opening goal as the Galaxy won the MLS Cup 2-1 against New England. His goal was the first-ever scored by a homegrown player in the MLS Cup Final.
In 2015, he started 27 of 29 games and notched six goals with four assists. Zardes was the third most-featured player for the Galaxy in terms of minutes played. He also scored and provided an assist for a goal in the MLS Cup playoffs, but the Galaxy lost 3-2 to the Seattle Sounders in the knockout round.
The 2016 season saw Zardes play a career-low 19 games with 17 starts. He injured his foot in August and missed the rest of the season for the Galaxy. In those 19 games, he scored six times and added a career-high five assists.
Zardes didn't debut in 2017 until March, after which he played in 24 MLS games with 23 starts. He scored a career-low two goals with two assists before another August foot injury ended his season.
Gyasi Zardes and Columbus Crew
After amassing 34 goals and 17 assists in 131 games, Zardes was traded by his hometown team to Columbus Crew SC on January 20, 2018. He debuted with the Crew on March 3 and scored against Toronto.
Zardes scored a brace and the game-winner in his home debut on March 10 to make the MLS Team of the Week. He added another game-winner against Chicago on May 12 and scored in his fourth straight home game on June 9.
He tallied his 50th career MLS goal against Colorado Rapids on September 22 and bagged his first-ever hat-trick in the season finale against Minnesota United. Overall, he finished the season with a career-high 19 goals in 33 regular season games.
In the playoffs, Zardes started all three Crew games and scored the game-winner in the first leg of the Eastern Conference semi-finals. The Crew were eliminated by the Red Bulls, but Zardes was named the 2018 MLS Comeback Player of the Year.
In 2019, Zardes scored twice in New England on March 9 and signed a multi-year extension with the Crew. He was named in the MLS Team of the Week three times and won the Crew's Golden Boot Award for the second straight year. He finished the season with 13 goals and two assists in 28 starts.
Zardes scored his first 2020 goal in Seattle on March 7 before the enforced four-month COVID-19 break. Columbus swept through group play unbeaten at the MLS Is Back Tournament, where Zardes scored twice against Cincinnati and once against Red Bulls. He scored the equalising goal in the Round of 16 against Minnesota United but was subbed off before the Crew lost on penalties.
Zardes netted his 43rd Crew goal on October 18 against NYCFC to move into fifth on the franchise's all-time scoring list. Zardes scored 12 goals and added four assists in 21 regular season games for the Crew in 2020. This helped Columbus to the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. In the first playoff game, a 3-2 win over Red Bulls, Zardes scored in the 68th minute to give the Crew a 3-1 lead.
Gyasi Zardes and USMNT
Zardes earned his first-ever national team call-up in January 2015 and made his international debut against Chile on January 28 when he replaced Clint Dempsey in the 68th minute. He started against Panama on February 8 and assisted with Dempsey's goal in a 2-0 win.
Zardes netted his first international goal in a friendly against the Netherlands on June 5. He started in the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup and had the game-winning assist in a group stage match against Haiti. He scored in the Gold Cup quarter-finals against Cuba.
In November, he scored against St. Vincent and the Grenadines in a World Cup qualifier.
The 2016 international campaign saw Zardes play in the Copa America Centenario, with a goal against Ecuador in the quarter-finals. He also scored twice in friendlies before the tournament, but was unavailable in the autumn of 2016 due to injury.
Zardes didn't score in the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup but assisted with a Jordan Morris goal against Martinique. He came on in the 76th minute of the final as the US lifted the trophy with a 2-1 win over Jamaica.
Zardes scored the only goal of the game against Ecuador in a friendly on March 21, 2019. In the 2019 Gold Cup, he scored in the opening group game against Guyana, then scored twice against Trinidad & Tobago. Zardes bagged a brace against Canada on November 15, 2019, in the Nations League match-up in Orlando.
He played in the first 2020 game for the US before COVID-19 paused international soccer, and he didn't play in the two November games while preparing for the MLS playoffs.
Overall, Zardes has played 56 games for his country with 12 goals.
Gyasi Zardes' personal life
Zardes is of Ghanaian descent and his parents, Glenn and Linda, raised five children.
He met Madison Goodvin while they were both students at CSU Bakersfield and the two married in 2013. They have four children together.
While Zardes didn't graduate from Bakersfield, he did earn a degree in criminal justice at Cal State Dominguez Hills while playing with the Galaxy.
Gyasi Zardes' net worth
In his previous contract, Zardes was making around $600,000 per year from 2016 to 2018. With his new deal, Zardes was the Crew's highest-paid player in 2019 at $1.47million. His 2020 salary is believed to be even higher, pushing towards $2million.