Panayotis Alexander “Alexi” Lalas is an American retired soccer player who played mostly as a defender. Lalas is best known for his participation with the United States men’s national soccer team in the 1994 FIFA World Cup, where he was a standout player on the team with his distinctive long beard and hair. After the World Cup, Lalas went on to become the first American in Italy’s Serie A as a member of Calcio Padova. Lalas would later return to the United States in 1996 to take part in the newly formed Major League Soccer, as a member of New England Revolution. Lalas also played with Club Sport Emelec of Ecuador, and the MLS squads MetroStars and Kansas City Wizards, but his most successful period was with Los Angeles Galaxy, with whom he won the CONCACAF Champions’ Cup, Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and MLS Cup before retiring in 2002. Lalas’ playing style was characterized by physical ability and endurance. Following his playing career, Lalas served as general manager of the San Jose Earthquakes, New York Red Bulls, and Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer. He was elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2006. He currently works as an analyst for Fox Sports.
Olympic Games “Barcelona 92”
USA vs Italy
Match Worn Shirt
Did you Know?
This shirt was worn by Alexi Lalas during the “Barcelona 92” Olympic Games match between USA vs Ital, which took place in Barcelona, Camp Nou Stadium, on July 24th 1992. Italy defeated USA 2-1. The shirt was swapped after the match by Alexi Lalas with an Italy team’s player who we got it from. Lalas earned 96 caps, scoring nine goals, with the U.S. National Team between 1991 and 1998. His first cap came in a 2–2 tie with Mexico on March 12, 1991, in the 1991 NAFC Championship. He gained his second cap four days later in a 2-0 win over Canada. While he started both games, he did not gain another cap until he came on for Fernando Clavijo in a 2–2 tie with Denmark on January 30, 1993. His next game, a start, came on March 23, 1993, in a 2–2 tie with El Salvador. While he became a fixture on the team through the rest of 1993, he did not cement his position as a starter in the U.S. central defense until the beginning of 1994. He went on to start and play all ninety minutes in the four U.S. games of the 1994 FIFA World Cup and was named an honorable mention All-Star. On June 11, 1995, Lalas flew directly from a relegation playoff game with his club team, Padova, in order to appear in the second half of a 1995 U.S. Cup victory over Nigeria. His contributions to the national team led to his selection as the 1995 U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year. He also scored in a game against Saudi Arabia, in which the United States had their biggest comeback in their history (from 3–0 to 4–3; Lalas scored the first goal for the United States). While Lalas was on the roster for the U.S. at the 1998 FIFA World Cup, he never entered a game. His last cap had come in the final U.S. tuneup for the finals, a May 30, 1998, scoreless tie with Scotland where he was a second-half substitute for Earnie Stewart. Lalas was selected as one of three over age players on the U.S. Olympic teams at both the 1992 and 1996 Summer Olympics.
Things to Know:
Before the inaugural Major League Soccer (MLS) draft in February 1996, the league allocated high-profile players throughout the league’s ten teams (except for the Dallas Burn, which alone amongst all MLS sides never received a U.S. national team allocation from the 1994 World Cup era). As part of this process, MLS placed Lalas with the New England Revolution. Lalas was a regular on the Revs backline during the 1996 and 1997 seasons. In November 1997, the Revolution loaned Lalas to Ecuadorian First Division Club Emelec for a month. He returned to New England at the end of December only to find himself traded to the MetroStars on February 4, 1998. He spent the 1998 season with the MetroStars before being traded, along with Tony Meola, to the Kansas City Wizards for Mark Chung and Mike Ammann on January 28, 1999. Lalas spent one season with the Wizards before announcing his retirement on October 10, 1999. Just over a year later, he returned to playing when he signed with the Los Angeles Galaxy as a discovery player on January 14, 2001. Nearly three years later, he retired again, this time permanently, on January 12, 2004.
Match Worn & Signed Shirt
Did you Know?
The Galaxy finished their sixth MLS season with a record of 14-7-5 (.635), good for 47 points and first place in the Western Division and the third-best overall record in the league. The first place finish marked the fourth time the club has finished atop its division or conference. Despite a slow start, losing their first two matches of the season, the Galaxy battled back and finished the season on a high note, winning seven of its last nine games. At the Rose Bowl, Los Angeles finished tied for the third-best home record in the MLS at 9-3-1 (.731). They also had the third-best record on the road with a 5-4-4 mark (.538). The Galaxy led the Western Division with a record of 7-3-0. Los Angeles also attained three milestones in 2001, their 300th goal, 100th victory and 1,000th point.
Did you Know?
Lalas served as President and General Manager of the San Jose Earthquakes during the 2004 and 2005 MLS seasons. He served as a General Manager of the New York Red Bulls from 2005 to 2006. Lalas served as President of the LA Galaxy from 2006 to 2008, during which time the club signed David Beckham. Following his time at the Galaxy, Lalas spent six years a commentator for ESPN before signing a commentary deal with Fox Sports. He has a noted affinity for rock music. He has played in a band called The Gypsies ever since college, which even opened European concerts for Hootie & The Blowfish in 1998. The Gypsies were featured in self-produced, self-distributed album Woodland, released by Lalas during the 1994 World Cup, and Lalas has also released seven solo albums: Far from Close (1996), Ginger (1998), So It Goes (2010), Infinity Spaces (2014), Shots (2016), Sunshine (2018) and Look at You (2019).