Vela unveiled as LAFC's first player

Aug 12, 2017 - 2:04 AM Carlos Vela was intrigued and surprised when Los Angeles Football Club approached him several weeks ago to join their MLS expansion franchise.

As yet LAFC doesn't have a uniform, a completed stadium or any other players.

"It's crazy and it's strange," Vela said.

"It's like, 'OK, I can play alone if you want'.

"I'm the first. You feel like they're building the team around you. I feel cool, you know?"

Vela will have to get used to feeling strange and cool as he embarks on this unique journey with LAFC.

For instance, during his introductory news conference Friday, the Mexican winger received a T-shirt with his name on it from LAFC co-owner Will Ferrell while standing under the Space Shuttle Endeavour inside the California Science Center, just across the park from LAFC's under-construction arena, which will be ready in March.

The 28-year-old Vela is now the centrepiece of a franchise with only one player so far, but deep pockets and global ambition.

The charismatic attacker brings a scoring acumen honed over the last six years at La Liga's Real Sociedad. He will stay with that San Sebastian club through January before moving stateside.

"I think it was the right moment to come here, because the ambition of this team is very good," Vela said.

"The people make me feel like this is my club, like I am important, and I want to be an important player. I hope I can be one of the best players in the league."

While Vela is taking a financially rewarding leap of faith, LAFC coach Bob Bradley is eager to build a team with Vela as the foundation.

"It's a statement that reaffirms what the club is all about - the values, the connection with the city," said Bradley, who joined the franchise two weeks ago.

"And it's a statement about what we want our football to be like ... "

Vela has spent his entire professional career in Europe, starting at Arsenal and moving on loan to several clubs before logging the past six seasons at Sociedad.

After attending a rally on Friday with fans of his new club, Vela is headed back to Spain to prepare for Sociedad's season opener next weekend.

Source: AAP






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