LA has been home to some big name’s in soccer such as Landon Donovan, David Beckham, and recently departed Zlatan Ibrahimovic. All three had their own personality and style of playing that drew attention to themselves and the city of Los Angeles. However, the biggest star may have just begun his career in the city.
Carlos Vela never wanted to come to LA to become a superstar or the next biggest name to settle into the city. Vela isn’t quite like the Zlatans or Beckhams of the soccer world instead being more reserved and unwilling to embrace the spotlight that comes with being in a city like LA. While he may not want to embrace the spotlight, there is no denying the impact he has made on the City of Angels. He was voted the city’s third most popular athlete in a survey conducted by Loyola Marymount despite only playing less than seasons for a club that has only existed for almost three seasons. He has captured the heart of Angelenos in his short time here.
— LAFC (@LAFC) September 26, 2019
It’s not hard to see why he’s become such a prominent sports figure so quickly as he has scored 57 goals in 71 matches, earned an MLS MVP, set a league record for combined scoring, and led the young club to capture a 2019 Supporter’s Shield trophy.
Not only has he caught the attention of fans on the field but off of it as well. He recently signed on with the sports drink company BODYARMOR and will become one of the campaign’s many faces. Murals of him have also been created in Venice Beach which shows the fame and recognition that the people of LA are giving him.
While talking to Goal.com, Vela discussed how he never expected to receive so much fame.
“You are never ready for that kind of spotlight, but when you’re here and you see how sports are, how life is being in one of the biggest cities in the world, you have to be like that. It’s an honor to be recognized in LA. It’s something really cool. It’s something, you don’t work for that, but when you see that you are doing your best, you are trying to do something for you, for your talent, for the city, and when the people recognize that, you feel special.”
Whether he expected it or wants it, Vela has become one of the faces of not only LAFC but of Los Angeles itself alongside big names such as Lebron James or Cody Bellinger.