Playa Del Rey native John O'Brien returns home to join Chivas USA
CARSON, Calif. - Chivas USA announced today the acquisition of World Cup veteran John O'Brien, one of the United States' most accomplished, creative and versatile midfielders. O'Brien, a native of Playa del Rey, California, who has played his entire professional career in the Dutch first division, was officially presented to Southern California media in a midday news conference at The Home Depot Center whose participants included Chivas USA President and Co-Owner Antonio Cué, Senior Vice President and General Manager Whit Haskel, and Head Coach Bob Bradley. The 27-year-old joins Chivas USA effective immediately and is eligible for selection by Bradley for Chivas USA's game against D.C. United this Saturday, April 8 at 1:00 p.m. at RFK Stadium (TV: ESPN2; Radio: KTNQ 1020 AM Univision Radio Los Angeles).
Chivas USA signed O'Brien with the allocation it received for missing the 2005 MLS Cup Playoffs. A complete list of league allocations is available at: http://www.mlsnet.com/MLS/about/league.jsp?section=regulations&content=allocations.
In a separate announcement, U.S. national team coach Bruce Arena today named O'Brien to his 18-man roster for the United States' international friendly against Jamaica next Tuesday, April 11 at 4:00 p.m. PT in Cary, North Carolina (TV: live on ESPN2, tape-delay on Telemundo). The match is the last for the United States before Arena names his preliminary roster in for this summer's World Cup in Germany. Arena's roster announcement is expected in early May.
"Chivas USA welcomes a player of the caliber of John O'Brien to our team," said Chivas USA President and Co-Owner Antonio Cué. "John has played at the highest level both professionally and internationally and he understands the passion this club and its fans feel for the sport of soccer. We look forward to his contributions to Chivas USA, and congratulate him on his recent call-up to the United States national team."
"I'm happy to be back home in Los Angeles. I want to thank Chivas USA, Antonio Cué, Coach Bradley and Major League Soccer for this opportunity. To Chivas USA's fans, I want to say that I promise to give one hundred percent to help the team win this year," said O'Brien in Spanish at the press conference.
O'Brien brings to Chivas USA his vast experience at both the professional and international level. The midfielder has represented the United States national team on 28 occasions, recording three goals and four assists - none more memorable than the U.S.'s first tally in its 3-2 opening game victory against Portugal, and O'Brien's pinpoint assist to Clint Mathis in the United States' draw against hosts Korea Republic, at the 2002 World Cup in Korea. During the tournament, O'Brien would go on to become one of just three American players to play every minute in the team's historic run to the quarterfinals. In 2000, O'Brien also played every minute for the Stars-and-Stripes in the team's fourth-place finish at the Sydney Olympics, and last summer he represented the United States at the 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup, scoring a late-game equalizer in the U.S.'s semifinal victory over Honduras en route to the title. Previously, O'Brien represented the U.S. U-20 and U-17 national teams.
He made his debut with the United States senior team in versus Vienna on April 22, 1998, coming on as a late-game sub in a 3-0 win against Austria. That same year, he was named an alternate for the World Cup in France by then-head coach Steve Sampson.
On the professional level, O'Brien has played the entirety of his career in the Dutch first division, having joined the youth system of powerhouse Ajax Amsterdam as a teenager in 1994 after being scouted in the United States and being invited to a tryout two years earlier. In 1998 he became the first American in the modern era (since the 1920s) to sign a professional contract with Ajax and after one season on loan at first-division FC Utrecht (1998-99), he would go on to become a mainstay at the Amsterdam club (1999-2005), playing 84 official matches. He played a key role for Ajax in the 2001-02 season, when the Amsterdam club won the double (league and cup titles) and the versatile O'Brien played five different midfield and defensive positions for his club. He became the first American to play in the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League when Ajax faced Milan in 2003. In 2005, O'Brien joined ADO Den Haag.
"The addition of John adds valuable talent to our squad as we continue our 2006 season," said Chivas USA Head Coach Bob Bradley. "John's combination of experience, creativity and workrate will provide additional depth to our squad as well as valuable leadership for our young players."
Born on August 29, 1977 in Los Angeles, California, O'Brien played youth soccer for California Flyers FC and attended Brentwood High School.
O'Brien is Chivas USA's fifth World Cup veteran, joining fellow U.S. international Carlos Llamosa (2002), as well as Mexican national team stars Francisco Palencia (1998, 2002), Ramón Ramírez (1994, 1998) and Claudio Suárez (1994, 1998) - who on Sunday was named to head coach Ricardo Lavolpe's provisional 26-man roster for the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Between these five players, Chivas USA accumulates an impressive total of eight World Cups for both Mexico and the United States. In addition, midfielder Juan Pablo García and goalkeeper Brad Guzan have each made their respective debuts for the Mexican and United States national teams since joining Chivas USA in 2005.
Finally, Chivas USA announced that it waived midfielder Jesús Ochoa.
Chivas USA, Major League Soccer's Mexican-owned, Los Angeles-based franchise, is playing its second campaign in MLS. Tickets for Chivas USA's 2006 season, starting at just $10 per game, are available by calling 1-877-CHIVAS-1 or online via www.cdchivasusa.com.
TRANSACTION: Chivas USA acquires MF John O'Brien. Chivas USA waives MF Jesús Ochoa.