Kansas City Wizards have signed Mexico international and Chivas Guadalajara striker Omar Bravo as a Designated Player. Bravo agreed to a Major League Soccer contract to play in Kansas City, and subsequently agreed to a loan agreement between Kansas City, MLS and Chivas. By the terms of the loan agreement, Bravo will remain with Chivas Guadalajara for the remainder of the 2010 Apertura, Mexico's 17-game fall season, and the second leg of next week's Copa Libertadores final. The 30-year-old striker will then join the Wizards for the 2011 preseason. KCWizards.com will chronicle Bravo's final season with Chivas as he looks to bring home the Libertadores title and add to his 106 Primera Division goals, second most in club history.
"We are very pleased to have signed Omar Bravo, who is an exceptional player," Kansas City Wizards Manager Peter Vermes said. "Although he won't join us until 2011, we feel that it will be very beneficial for Omar to go through a whole season with us, beginning with the preseason. The 2011 preseason will give Omar a great start to the year and allow us to indoctrinate him into our system. Omar's high-pressure, attack-oriented mentality will complement our style of play extremely well."
Kansas City and Chivas have also agreed to play home-and-home friendlies at their new stadiums in 2011 as part of the loan agreement. The Wizards will play at Chivas' new Estadio Omnilife during Kansas City's preseason, and Chivas Guadalajara will play in Kansas City's new soccer stadium after the venue opens next summer.
"Signing a player of Omar Bravo's stature and ability is important for us," OnGoal CEO/Wizards President Robb Heineman said. "When we purchased the Wizards, we put an emphasis on playing clubs like Manchester United and Chivas Guadalajara. We know that to compete at the highest level we need to develop high-performance players and sign world-class players like Omar Bravo. We look forward to Omar joining us next year as we open the finest soccer stadium in the United States."
Bravo started and played the full 90 minutes in Chivas' 2-1 loss on Wednesday in the opening leg of the Copa Libertadores finals, and was a man of the match candidate as voted by the fans. Only one other Mexican club, Cruz Azul in 2001, has ever reached the finals of Copa Libertadores, the storied South American club tournament that was first played in 1960. Chivas is up against Brazilian club Internacional in a home-and-home aggregate goal series, with the deciding match on Wednesday, August 18. The game will be broadcast live on Fox Sports en Español. Bravo has four goals in this year's tournament, two behind the leader. For his career, Bravo has scored 13 goals in 34 Libertadores matches.
"We are very proud of Omar and everything he has achieved, and we know he'll continue his successful career in MLS as he's done with Chivas," said Jorge Vergara, President of the Board of Directors of Grupo Omnilife. "We are going to miss Omar greatly, but we know he will bring great satisfaction to the fans who live in the United States, and that is important for the sport."
Bravo is one of the most decorated and beloved players in Chivas history and has been a mainstay on the Mexico National Team since making his first appearance in 2002. He has scored 16 goals for Mexico in 65 appearances, including two goals in the 2006 FIFA World Cup. He also scored two goals during the 2004 Olympics.
"I am very happy about joining Kansas City in 2011 and staying with Chivas through the finals of Libertadores and the Apertura," Bravo said. "I want to win two more trophies for Chivas and then focus on bringing championships to Kansas City in Major League Soccer."