LOS ANGELES – At last, LAFC confirmed the long-rumored Designated Player signing of attacker Diego Rossi from Uruguayan side Peñarol on Thursday.
After seeing some video clips of Rossi’s play, LAFC GM John Thorrington and head coach Bob Bradley made the trip to Montevideo to watch him live.
“A lot of credit has to go to our scout on the ground in Montevideo who’s known Diego since he was 13,” Thorrington said by phone on Thursday. “The first time our scout and Bob sat down in person and we were having the discussion about the players that fit the mold of LAFC, his eyes automatically lit up, he said ‘I’ve got your guy.’”
While watching him live, Rossi’s explosiveness, confidence, and creativity cemented Thorrington and Bradley’s interest.
“I came out of the stadium that night, very confident, that Diego Rossi would fit the vision of LAFC,” Bradley said in the player’s announcement video.
According to Thorrington, Rossi had become a “pretty big name” in South America, attracting international interest from overseas outfits. To compete, LAFC tapped another recent addition to their growing sphere of influence: technical consultant Juan Pablo Angel.
“When there is a South American kid that’s thinking ‘What is MLS all about? What’s LA all about?’ Juan Pablo can speak to that,” Thorrington explained. “[Angel] can say, ‘I lived in LA, I did MLS, I did Europe, I can give a real global perspective for what this club is all about.’”
After six productive seasons with Aston Villa in the English Premier League, the former Colombian international Angel spent six seasons in MLS, the final two with the LA Galaxy and Chivas USA.
“It’s another great story of this new narrative of MLS,” Thorrington said of the moment when Rossi finally committed. “Where we’re getting the young players with overseas options that opting to spend the next phase of their career here in MLS.”
Thorrington spreads credit out for the acquisition – the second Designated Player for LAFC after Carlos Vela and the second youngest DP in league history – evenly between Angel, his scouting team, and Bradley, who all took the time to personally meet the player.
“We went to him, we met him, we showed how much we wanted him,” Thorrington said, before reiterating how attractive the expansion club appears to players looking to change clubs.
“Whether its Diego or Carlos, or any player, when you show them what LAFC is, it’s eye opening. It gets their attention. When they see our stadium, when you explain our ownership group, and you explain where this league is going, it’s a really appealing prospect for guys at all different phases of their career.”