Chivas USA acquired defender Carlos Bocanegra on July 1, 2013 from Spanish Segunda Division side Real Racing de Santander, where he was on loan from Scottish club Rangers FC since August 2012. After acquiring the first allocation ranking slot in a trade, the Red-and-White acquired the former U.S. Men’s National Team captain and Southern California product after spending nearly a decade in European soccer.
Bocanegra made his Chivas USA debut on July 17 in a home win against Eastern Conference side Toronto FC at the StubHub Center. The Upland, Calif. native would go on to start in 12 games and become a crucial element on the Red-and-White’s back line with his play and experience. Prior to joining the Rojiblancos, Bocanegra started in 23 games for Racing de Santander.
Bocanegra began his professional career with the Chicago Fire after he was drafted fourth overall out of UCLA in the 2000 MLS SuperDraft. He established himself as a starter with the Fire soon after and was named MLS Rookie of the Year. Bocanegra helped lead Chicago to the 2000 MLS Cup final as well as the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup finals in 2000 and 2003. He added to his list of accolades as one of the league’s premier players by earning back-to-back MLS Defender of the Year honors in 2002 and 2003.
In January of 2004, Bocanegra took his talents to the English Premier League with Fulham FC. In his four years with the London side, Bocanegra appeared in 133 games, scoring eight goals while becoming one of the few USMNT captains to wear both his club and National Team armbands simultaneously. After his time in the Premier League, the defender moved on to the French Ligue 1 where he played for Stade Rennes Football Club (2008-10) and later AS Saint Étienne (2010-12) before signing with Rangers FC.
A critical leader both on and off the field, he led the Stars and Stripes’ back line in two FIFA World Cups (Germany 2006; South Africa 2010), a Confederations Cup (South Africa 2009) and to four Gold Cup Finals (2002; ’07; ’09; ’11), where they twice came away champions (2002; ’07).
Bocanegra was a member of the U-20 USMNT that participated in the 1999 World Youth Championship in Nigeria and won bronze with the U-23 team in the 1999 Pan-American games. The defender made his National Team debut against South Korea on Dec. 9, 2003, and with 116 career international caps, became the 12th U.S. player to surpass the 100-match mark.