Lackey graduate DeLaGarza plays in 200th game with LA Galaxy
Lackey grad DeLaGarza plays in 200th game with LA Galaxy of MLS
Throughout his college and professional soccer playing career, Lackey High School graduate and Bryans Road native Adolph Joseph “A.J.” DeLaGarza has enjoyed far more highs than lows while being part of two NCAA championship teams at the University of Maryland and three more titles with the LA Galaxy of Major League Soccer.
This past season with the Galaxy, DeLaGarza also garnered a personal achievement when he became only the fifth player in club history to appear in at least 200 games, finishing the season with 204.
DeLaGarza, who was part of three Galaxy ti- tles [2011, 2012, 2014] after earning two NCAA crowns with Maryland [2005, 2008], was proud of the individual accomplishment that validated his longevity in the league.
“It was quite a feat, I guess you could say,” DeLaGarza said in a phone interview on Tues- day. “It’s amazing to think that I am only one of five players in the history of the Galaxy to play in 200 games. I’ve already been part of three MLS titles with the Galaxy and this is a great franchise. I real- ly can’t see myself playing anywhere else.”
DeLaGarza still has two years remaining on a fouryear contract with the Galaxy and he is hoping to garner an extension to play with the Southern California team when that contact expires following the 2018 season. The Galaxy has been in flux recently with several players opting to go elsewhere and a coaching change occurring after the season.
“I really like to stay and play out here for at least another two years,” DeLaGarza said. “But right now we seem to be in flux. We’ve lost some players and we will have a new coach next year. But I’ve played all nine seasons here and I love it out here. I would not want to play anywhere else.”
While DeLaGarza has certainly garnered ample highlights during his playing career in college and with the Galaxy, capped by his ability to reach the 200-game plateau with
the MLS squad, he has endured some personal tragedy.
Just over two years ago, his son, Luca DeLaGarza, died one week after being born from a rare heart defect known as Hypoplastic left heart syndrome.
In honor of his son’s memory, DeLaGarza and his wife, Megan, started the Luca Knows Heart Foundation to help other people who have the condition. Their efforts earned him the MLS Humanitarian of the Year award in 2014. The couple has since had a daughter, Noelle, who was born just over a year after Luca passed away.
“It was a very difficult time for us,” DeLaGarza said. “But I will never for- get the support that we received from the team and the league and the entire community. It was a very touching moment when I got the Humanitarian award. Our daughter just turned a year old last month and she’s amazing. She’s been a real blessing for both of us.”
DeLaGarza played briefly for the United States men’s national soccer team in 2011 and 2012, but he committed to play for the Guam na- tional team in 2013 and played all 90 minutes in a 1-0 win in a World Cup qualifier against Turkmenistan and lat- er played all 90 minutes when Guam upended India in another World Cup qualifier.
While many Americans will travel this weekend to participate in the Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends, DeLaGarza noted that he, Megan and Noelle will remain in California this weekend. But they are planning to return to Bryans Road to visit family and friends at Christmas, an annual tradition the couple seeks to keep intact.
“We’re staying home this weekend, but we’ll be back in Charles County for Christmas,” DeLaGarza said. “We’ve always headed back east during Christmas to spend time with family and friends there. It’s always a great time and we plan to con- tinue that tradition again this year.”
Lackey High School graduate A.J. DeLaGarza, right, who just completed his eighth season with the LA Galaxy of Major League Soccer, battles for the ball with Orlando forward Cristian Higuita during a recent match. DeLaGarza became one of only five players in franchise history to play in at least 200 games during the 2016 season.
Lackey High School graduate and Bryans Road native A.J. DeLaGarza recently played in the 200th game of his professional soccer career with the LA Galaxy of Major League Soccer. DeLaGarza became only the fifth player in franchise history to reach that milestone and has been part of three MLS titles with the Galaxy.