Rafael Garcia takes a free kick for Las Vegas Lights FC in a match against OKC Energy FC. | Photo courtesy Las Vegas Lights FC.
OKLAHOMA CITY – OKC Energy FC announced on Monday that it signed midfielder Rafael Garcia to a contract for the 2019 USL Championship season, pending league and federation approval.
Garcia joins OKC after spending the 2018 campaign splitting time between fellow Western Conference side Las Vegas Lights FC and New York Cosmos B. The 30-year-old made 13 appearances for Lights FC last season, scoring one goal and providing one assist.
Primarily a central midfielder, Garcia was drafted by the Los Angeles Galaxy in the 2012 MLS Supplemental Draft and spent six seasons with the club where he won the MLS Cup in 2012 and 2014 alongside teammates such as David Beckham, Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane. He also featured for the Galaxy in the CONCACAF Champions League, making 12 appearances and providing two assists.
“He’s always been around very good players, and he’s always been around very successful programs,” said Energy FC Head Coach Steve Cooke. “Rafa is a winner first and foremost. He’s a person who’s going to bring great quality in the midfield. His receiving and passing are excellent. I think he can get forward well as well. He’s a dynamic player, and his defensive qualities are exceptional. We are really excited to be able to bring Rafa into the group. When you bring winners into a program, it raises everybody’s expectations, and hopefully we can give him another trophy to lift this season.”
GONZALEZ JOINS TULSA MIDFIELD: Tulsa Roughnecks FC also added to its midfield group on Monday by announcing the signing of Manny Gonzalez.
“I’m very excited to be part of this team and to get the season started,” said Gonzalez.
Gonzalez, a native of Tulua, Columbia, played college soccer for the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles before beginning his professional career with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. The 28-year-old then went on to play for South Florida Surf and Miami FC.
“Manny Gonzalez is a technically and tactically gifted deep-lying playmaker. He’s exceptional at finding space to break oppositions first line of pressure and he’s good at switching attacks or playing vertical attacking passes,” said Head Coach Michael Nsien, “Players like him can go unnoticed because of the simplicity in which he plays. His game will translate well to our style of play and his quality passing range will help us be a dual threat in how we play.”