Austin FC officially signed two-time MLS Cup winner Gyasi Zardes through the end of the 2025 season, with an option for 2026. Zardes went to Austin to promote the announcement, signing the Verde wall at Q2 Stadium.
The 31-year-old forward—with 97 MLS goals to his name—will not occupy a designated player spot on the Verde & Black roster. Austin signed Zardes in free agency sans transfer fee—Colorado Rapids couldn’t come to a new agreement with Gyasi for 2023.
The signing comes just as ATX ended Danny Hoesen’s contract.
Gyasi Zardes is an MLS homegrown through and through.
The California native was part of the LA Galaxy youth academy before playing college soccer for Cal State Bakersfield.
In 2013, Zardes signed with Bruce Arena’s LA Galaxy as a homegrown player, scoring 34 goals in 131 appearances until he was traded to Columbus Crew in 2018.
Zardes flourished in Columbus after an injury-plagued finish in LA. Under coach Gregg Berhalter (and assistant coach Josh Wolff), he notched an astonishing 54 goals in 110 appearances. In 2019, Gyasi signed a contract extension with the Crew and was named a designated player.
Early in the 2022 season, the veteran forward was traded to Colorado for $300,000 in GAM with potential add-ons. He finished the season with nine goals in 22 appearances.
His goal tally ranks 13th-most in league history.
Austin FC Sporting Director Claudio Reyna praised Gyasi’s MLS experience and ability to finish.
“Gyasi has one of the most impressive resumés of any striker to have played in MLS and brings excellent goal-scoring and leadership to the team.”Claudio Reyna
December 12, 2022
Here’s what Head Coach Josh Wolff had to say about the forward coming into training camp.
First, he’s a fantastic human being. That is part of what we’re looking for. The selflessness. His energy. He is a goal scorer. He does not get deterred by missing chances and the rhetoric that comes from that. He knows what he is good at. It’s up to Gyasi now. He took that opportunity [to join Austin FC] and we couldn’t be more happy.Josh Wolff
January 10, 2023
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What does Austin FC get with Gyasi Zardes?
Gyasi Zardes helps solidify Austin FC at the striker position. He immediately leapfrogs Maxi Urruti and Moussa Djitté as the starting number 9.
While Austin was a bonafide goal-scoring machine in 2022, the club lacked consistency up top for key stretches of the season. This move potentially relieves the reliance on Sebastián Driussi playing underneath to be the primary shot-creator in every match.
Importantly, Zardes has familiarity playing in Austin’s system, having worked with head coach Josh Wolff during his time in Columbus. Both Wolff and Reyna also understand that his vast MLS experience is the special sauce in a locker room that can make for a magical season, just like the signings of Felipe Martins and Maxi Urruti last year.
It makes tons of sense most ways you look at it.
The downside with signing a 31-year-old forward is that the club could find itself in a situation like with Urruti last season—productivity can fall off a cliff during the grind of a late-season playoff run.
What do you think about Austin FC signing Gyasi Zardes?
“I’m excited to be a part of the organization and I can’t wait to step on that field with you guys.”
— Gyasi Zardes
Gyasi Zardes Player Bio
Full Name: Gyasi Zardes
DOB: September 2, 1991
Birthplace: Hawthorne, California
Nationality: United States
Gyasi Zardes MLS Stats