Reclamation project? Carlos Bocanegra, used to playing in red and white stripes, has joined Chivas USA (AP file photo).
Carlos Bocanegra has fallen out of favor with the U.S. national team, was reduced to playing Spanish second division soccer last season and struggled with a hamstring injury that limited his appearances as he nears the end of his career, but that didn’t stop outmanned Chivas USA from picking up the UCLA product today in a trade with Toronto FC.
Bocanegra, 34, had officially left Glasgow Rangers on Saturday, according to reports.
The Canadian club received a first round draft pick in 2015 and an international slot in exchange for Chivas USA moving up the MLS allocation order to sign the Upland native and former U.S. captain.
“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. “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.
Bocanegra played 116 times for the U.S. and for the likes of Fulham and Glasgow Rangers in Europe, although injury has restricted recent appearances for Racing Santander.
“I’m very excited to join the club,” said Bocanegra. “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.
“It feels really good to be coming back home,” he added. “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.”
Bocangra will join the club in Philadelphia and is eligible to play in the July 12 game there against the Union.
I’ll have more from Bocanegra in Tuesday’s column.