Chivas USA Original Brad Guzan joins Aston Villa of English Premier League
CARSON, Calif. (Friday, Aug. 1, 2008) - Chivas USA of Major League Soccer today announced that 23-year-old goalkeeper Brad Guzan, a Chivas USA Original and the 2007 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, has joined one of England's most storied soccer clubs, Aston Villa of the English Premier League. The announcement comes following approval of Guzan's British work permit today by the United Kingdom's Home Office. Per club and league policy, terms of the transfer were not revealed.
"For the past three and-a-half years, it has been my privilege to represent Chivas USA and its passionate fanbase," said Guzan in a statement from Hong Kong, where he is with the United States Olympic Team preparing for the Beijing Games. "As I begin this new phase of my career, I will continue to draw upon the lessons learned from my Chivas USA teammates and coaches, as well as the support I received from the organization and its fans. As my very first professional club, Chivas USA will always have a special place in my heart."
"Brad was the first goalkeeper to defend the colors of Chivas USA in Major League Soccer. This organization has seen him grow from a 20-year-old rookie to a U.S. Olympian, the reigning MLS Goalkeeper of the Year and now a member of one of England's great clubs," said Chivas USA President and CEO Shawn Hunter. "We trust that Villa supporters will soon see what Chivas USA fans have known for some time: that this is a very special young man with the potential of becoming one of the great goalkeepers in the international game."
(For a look back on Brad Guzan's Chivas USA career and reaction from his teammates, including fellow Chivas USA Original Francisco Mendoza and MLS Original Jesse Marsch, please visit www.cdchivasusa.com.)
Brad Guzan was selected by Chivas USA with its first pick in the 2005 MLS SuperDraft (No. 2 overall) out of the University of South Carolina, prior to the club's first season as an expansion team in Major League Soccer, making the then-20-year-old the highest-picked goalkeeper in MLS draft history. Originally scheduled to be Chivas USA's backup, Guzan was thrust into a starting role a month before Chivas USA's inaugural match in 2005, following an injury to Mexican No. 1 Martín Zúñiga.
Guzan's heroics in 24 appearances during his rookie campaign earned him the adoration of Chivas USA's fans and the team's 2005 Defender of the Year award, as well as the nicknames El Guzano and San Guzan ('Saint Guzan'). In 2006, Guzan would go on to make his first of nine appearances to date for the U.S. National Team, including four so far this year. In 2007, Guzan was named Major League Soccer's Panasonic Goalkeeper of the Year, recording 13 clean sheets (second all-time for an MLS goalkeeper in a single season) for a Chivas USA side that finished first in MLS's Western Conference.
"It is an honor for Chivas USA to see its one of its players transfer to one of England's storied clubs," said Chivas USA Head Coach Preki. "Although Brad will be missed, we very are happy for him and wish him luck with the challenges ahead."
During this three and-a-half years with Chivas USA, Brad Guzan played in 79 MLS regular-season games for the Red-and-White (starting 78), logging 7,029 regular-season minutes and registering a 1.41 career GAA (goals-against average) in three campaigns for his only MLS club, including a 0.93 GAA in his last full season (2007). Guzan is the lone goalkeeper to have represented Chivas USA in the MLS Cup Playoffs, logging 360 minutes in four matches from 2006-2007, and is No. 2 all-time in regular-season minutes played for the club (7,029), behind fellow Chivas USA Original Francisco Mendoza (8,308).
Founded in 1874, Aston Villa is one of England's oldest and most successful clubs. A founding member of the Football League (in 1888), Villa have won seven league titles and seven FA Cup championships in their proud history and are one of only four English clubs to win the European Cup, as they did in 1982. Led by manager Martin O'Neill, Aston Villa finished sixth last season in the 20-team Barclays English Premier League, and last month qualified for the 2008-09 UEFA Cup. Villa's owner and chairman, American Randy Lerner, is also owner of the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League (NFL).
Chivas USA, currently in fourth place in Major League Soccer's Western Conference with a 6-6-4 record (W-L-T) and 22 points, visits the Chicago Fire in MLS league action this Saturday, Aug. 2, at 7:30 p.m. CT / 5:30 p.m. PT (TV: HDNet, FSN-West, KAZA Azteca 54; Radio: W Radio 690 AM). For more information please contact Chivas USA Communications.
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