Los Angeles Galaxy Acquire Guatemalan Striker Carlos "Pescadito" Ruiz
PASADENA, CA (Tuesday, February 5, 2002) - The Los Angeles Galaxy has acquired Guatemalan striker Carlos Ruiz as a 2002 Discovery Player, it was announced today by Galaxy Vice President/General Manager Doug Hamilton. The move provides the team with a talented striker known for his finishing skills. Ruiz becomes the second Guatemalan in Galaxy history to join the team. No financial terms of the MLS contract were announced.
Ruiz will make his first showing as a Galaxy player in Chile later this month when the team plays a pair of international friendly matches against Colo Colo and Universidad de Chile.
"We are very pleased that we could acquire a player of his ability," said Hamilton. "His acquisition demonstrates our commitment to bring the Southern California soccer fan exciting, talented players."
"It's like dream come true, being able to play for such a great team like the Los Angeles Galaxy.'' said Ruiz from Guatemala. "In my country, there is a lot of respect for the MLS because of players like Martín Machón and Jorge Rodas who have played there. MLS is very popular among Guatemalan soccer fans."
The 22-year-old Ruiz, who began his professional career at 16 with CSD Municipal in 1995, was in Los Angeles last month with the Guatemalan National Team participating in the 2002 Football Confederation Gold Cup at the Rose Bowl.
"It is an exciting addition for the Galaxy and demonstrates our commitment to getting the best players we can for our team," said Galaxy Head Coach Sigi Schmid. "Acquiring a player from Central America illustrates our commitment to the Hispanic fans by looking in our own backyard for talent. Ruiz is a player who wants to achieve success in MLS. He has the potential to have a huge impact."
The 5-9, 170-pound Ruiz made his most significant impact by helping lead the Guatemalan National Team to the second round of the 2002 World Cup qualifying for Korea/Japan, tallying eight goals. Ruiz's goals included a late equalizer against the United States in a 1-1 draw on July 16 in Guatemala, before being eliminated in a second-round playoff match by Costa Rica.
"Carlos loves to be in the box, battle and finish off crosses," added Schmid, who has been following Ruiz's career for the past two years since first watching him during Olympic qualifying in Pennsylvania. "He complements the great young forwards that we have in Brian Mullan, Chris Albright and Sasha Victorine, who are very active and agile. We now have three, 23-year-old forwards (Mullan and Albright) who are as good a group of young forwards anywhere in the league."
Known as "The Little Fish" (Pescadito), Ruiz exploded onto the international scene as captain of the 2000 Guatemalan Olympic Team, turning heads during CONCACAF qualification and leading Guatemala to within one game of reaching the Olympics in Sydney, Australia. He was Guatemala's leading scorer with two goals, while facing off against his new teammates Danny Califf and Peter Vagenas in the semifinals.
As a member of the Guatemalan National Youth System, Ruiz participated Guatemalan at the Under-17, Under-19, Under-21 and Under-23 national teams before joining the full national team. He made his full national team debut when he appeared in a benefit match for the victims of Hurricane Mitch. In 1999, Ruiz recorded his first goal with the full national team in a UNCAF match vs. El Salvador in Costa Rica.
Ruiz began his soccer-playing career at 12-years-old, joining Municipal's youth academy. In 1995, he made his professional debut in a match against Xelaju Mario Caposeco of the Guatemalan First Division.
Ruiz becomes the Galaxy's ninth all-time Discovery Player following Alexi Lalas (2001), Craig Waibel (2001), Ivan Polic (2000), Sebastien Vorbe (2000), Simon Elliott (1999), Jaime Caicedo (1999), David Quesada (1998) and Arash Noamouz (1996). Elliott, Lalas and Waibel are the only Discovery Players who are still with the squad.
For more information regarding Los Angeles Galaxy season tickets for the 2002 MLS season, please call the Galaxy toll free at (877) 3GALAXY or visit www.lagalaxy.com.
Media interested in photographs of Carlos Ruiz can log on to the Galaxy website at www.lagalaxy.com.
The following is a brief biography of "Pescadito":
Full Name: Carlos Humberto Ruiz Gutierrez
Nickname: "Pescadito" (The Little Fish)
Date of Birth: September 15, 1979
Birthplace: Guatemala City, Guatemala
International Appearances: 24
International Goals: 12
Last Club: CSD Municipal (Guatemala)
Former Club's: Club Greece (2001 - Six Months), CSD Municipal (1995-2000, 2001)
Personal: Wife Laura, daughter Andrea Michelle
TRANSACTION: L.A. Galaxy (MLS) acquire Guatemalan striker Carlos Ruiz as a 2002 Discovery Player.