The Los Angeles Galaxy has signed Cal State Bakersfield striker Gyasi Zardes to a contract, CSUB coach Simon Tobin confirmed Wednesday night.
The signing was first reported on a tweet by CSUB assistant coach Keith Costigan Wednesday afternoon.
Zardes, 21, could not be reached for comment. Tobin declined to reveal Zardes' contract terms but said the deal was better than the offer from the Galaxy last February that Zardes turned down.
That offer was for a reported $100,000. Zardes said before last season he decided to return to CSUB because he didn't feel he was ready for the professional game and he wanted to continue working toward his degree.
"We wanted him within distance of completing his degree and he's close enough to finish it off," Tobin said. "And the financial terms are better this year."
The Galaxy won its second straight MLS championship on Dec. 1. Zardes chose the Galaxy over an offer he received from the Freiburg professional team in Germany. Tobin noted that Zardes is from the Los Angeles area -- his hometown is Hawthorne and he attended Lawndale-Leuzinger High School.
"Gyasi is a big family and friend person," Tobin said. "With a good deal like that, it would be hard to turn down an offer from the Galaxy. They're the MLS champion. It's a good situation for him."
Before playing at CSUB, Zardes helped the Galaxy's Under-20 club team reach the national championship game. He also played for the Galaxy's U-18 team, according to Adam Serrano's L.A. Galaxy Insider blog.
"If a kid plays as a youth player for their academy for a certain amount of time, he qualifies as a Homegrown player," Tobin said, meaning the team did not have to use a draft pick on him. "He could have still gone out of the country, but as an MLS player, the Galaxy gets him as a Home Grown."
Zardes was a second-team All-American his sophomore year when he had 18 goals and two assists in helping the Roadrunners make CSUB's first-ever NCAA Tournament team appearance as a Division I program.
Zardes had 15 goals and nine assists this season but CSUB went 9-5-5 and fell short of getting back to the NCAAs. Zardes was a third-team All-American.
"The MLS scouts rated him as probably the No. 1 player in college this year," Tobin said.
"During the last three years we've been Division I-eligible, we have had a lot of success and we're nationally recognized," Tobin said. "A lot of that is a tribute to him."
Two seniors from this season's Roadrunner team are being scouted by MLS teams, midfielders Jesus "Chuy" Sanchez and Kory Kindle, who Tobin said have a good chance to be selected in the MLS draft on Jan. 17.
"Those three have helped us be a huge force in Division I and we owe a huge debt to those guys," Tobin said. "Now the challenge is to keep the momentum going.
"We still have some good players returning. I still feel we'll be one of the top programs around in the country over the next few years.
"I"m excited for Gyasi but we have to keep going."