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
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 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
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.
Gyasi Zardes and Columbus Crew
Columbus Crew's Gyasi Zardes wheels away in celebration after scoring against San Jose Earthquakes. Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports/Sipa USA