NORTHRIDGE, Calif. –
A productive fall and winter for the Cal State Northridge men's soccer program has put a pair of Matadors in the national spotlight. Former midfielder Rafael Garcia has been named to the LA Galaxy's 30-man roster and has signed a contract, the club announced Wednesday, and freshman forward Edwin Rivas was selected as Los Angeles' Division I Freshman of the Year by ESPNLA.com.
Garcia was selected in the second round of the MLS Supplemental Draft in January after competing in the MLS Combine in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. He was signed to the roster after a productive preseason in which he recorded an assist in a match against Chivas USA on Feb. 16.
During his career at Cal State Northridge, Garcia appeared in 68 matches (64 starts) and scored six goals while adding nine assists for 21 points. He served as the team's primary kick taker, as well as a co-captain, and earned his first career First Team All-Big West Conference selection as a senior.
Garcia, a native of Canoga Park, Calif., joins his former teammate Sean Franklin, who was taken in the 2008 MLS SuperDraft and won the league's Rookie of the Year award after his first season.
"I tried my hardest [during preseason]. I worked very hard. I like to think my hard work paid off. I looked at the rest of the midfielders, saw what they were doing, and I learned a lot. I think that was to my benefit, and thank God it all worked out for me," Garcia said in an interview with Scott French for ESPNLA.com.
Rivas tied for the team lead with five goals in his rookie campaign for the Matadors and played in all but one match in 2011. Originally from Los Angeles, Rivas scored the game-winning goal against then-No. 7 UCLA on October 22 to help Northridge rally from a 2-1 halftime deficit for the program's first ever win at Drake Stadium.
Rivas was named an All-Big West Conference Honorable Mention after the season and was selected as ESPN Los Angeles' Division I Freshman of the Year for his work on the pitch, joining an All-Area Team that featured no less than nine MLS draft picks this year.