By Ross Hughes
Carlos Vela does it all for Los Angeles FC. He creates chances and finishes them off, playing on the right wing to supply his teammates with goalscoring opportunities or a more central role suited for getting his name on the scoresheet, keeping fans on the edges of their seats.
The Mexican started his career at Guadalajara in his native country in 2003 after impressing scouts at a local competition. Vela got his name when he netted five goals in the 2005 FIFA Under-17 World Cup for Mexico. He claimed the prestigious golden boot after that. This was the start of an adventurous career for Vela, who had the world at his feet.
Due to his exciting playstyle and potential, he was the target of many clubs in 2005, with Arsenal amongst many clubs vying for the youngster’s signature. Vela swapped North America for Europe and signed for the Gunners in November 2005, in a deal worth £125,000 for five years of Vela’s services.
The start of his Arsenal career did not go to plan, as the forward did not play in England due to work permit complications. Arsenal then loaned their new signing out to a Spanish club, Celta Vigo, who sent Vela on a flight back to North London.
The start of the 2006–07 season brought new opportunity for Vela, who had yet to demonstrate his abilities. This time, Vela signed with Salamanca of Spain's second level, where he flourished and netted eight goals in 31 appearances. After seeing his capability in Spain, first division clubs such as Osasuna came calling, who Vela represented for a year. During his spell at the club, he notched three goals in 33 games but lit up El Sadar Stadium with electric performances.
Finally, he was granted a work permit in May 2008, three years after signing for Arsenal. He impressed manager Arsene Wenger and renewed his contract with the London outfit, with him making his 50th appearance for the club in May 2010. Vela opened his Champions League account with a brace against Braga in a dominant 6-0 victory in a game that saw him as a real handful for the Portuguese side’s defence.
However, Vela was loaned out again and spent time at West Bromwich Albion, also in the Premier League. Vela was an impact substitute for the Baggies, with Vela coming off the bench to equalise late against arch-rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers and closely located Stoke City.
It was difficult for the Mexican to find his feet at the club level as he spent lots of time at different clubs in different leagues, struggling to adapt to each side’s wants and needs. But he starred for his nation, helping them to lift the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup and taking them to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Despite injury forcing Vela out of the group stage ties against Uruguay and Argentina, his playstyle with end product was a sign of things to come for the Mexican.
After a successful loan spell at Real Sociedad in which he scored 12 goals, Vela stated his desire to return to the Spanish club, and his wish was granted. He thrived at Sociedad and scored 14 times in the following season. It seemed Vela had finally settled and found his feet. Arsene Wenger labelled him a “special talent” after watching Vela’s natural pace and flair, but it was now that the forward began to show what he could do on the field.
His red-hot form continued through to the 2013/14 season, in which he scored 21 goals in 52 games, an impressive record for a right-winger. The stellar performance that campaign earned him deserved recognition, as he scooped the Real Sociedad Player of the Year award for the second time in three years at the club. He also gained plaudits from the media and was awarded the La Liga Player of the Month trophy for December 2013 and November 2014.
His move to Real Sociedad was the turning point of his career, he was finally blooming, and the world saw why he was such an exciting prospect.
Vela spent the next four years at Real Sociedad, where he ended up scoring 61 times in 213 games. He was a fan favourite but left sunny Spain to return to North America, as Vela was announced as a Los Angeles player before the past season ended. He officially joined the team in January 2018 and made his debut in March with an assist. Six days later, he scored his first goal for LAFC as they cruised past Real Salt Lake 5-1.
He immediately made an impact, much to the delight of the fans, as he put two past fierce rivals, LA Galaxy, in the first El Trafico derby. He was a sensation in his first season, as he was named captain of LAFC and into the MLS Best XI of 2018. In his first season in the states, he scored 15 times in 31 games, falling just short of one goal every two games.
But 2019 was the year of Carlos Vela. He was simply unstoppable. He won the Golden Boot after an unforgettable season in which he bagged 34 times in just 31 games and collected the MLS MVP Award for 2019. The forward broke records by becoming the quickest player in MLS history to score 20 goals. He also showed his playmaking skills by assisting his teammates 15 times. He easily defeated Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic to win the MVP Award, demonstrating his significance.
His MLS form continued as the forward scored nine goals in 13 games in 2020 in the pandemic season. Since his outstanding individual season in 2019, Vela has not hit the same heights but is still a dangerous threat to the opponent’s backlines. However, he has been crowned the 2022 Best MLS Player ESPY Award, honouring his performances this year.
Could we be about to see Vela replicate his past successes in the States? Will he lead LAFC to glory now that they have signed Welsh wizard Gareth Bale and Italian rock Giorgio Chiellini? It is all to play for.
How has the Dutch League shaped Eric Ten Hag for Manchester United?
Lionel Messi’s agent refutes claims of Inter Miami stake purchase and a potential move
Best U21 Attackers in Eredivisie
Gabriel Slonina: The goalkeeping prospect Chelsea and Real Madrid clash for
FIFA announces hosts cities for World Cup 2026
Juventus and Italy legend Giorgio Chiellini signs with LAFC
Standout players in Eredivisie outside the ‘Big 3’: season 2021-22
MLS Match Report- Los Angeles FC vs FC Dallas
Lisandro Martinez at Manchester United- a blessing in disguise?
Gareth Bale joins MLS Western Conference leaders LAFC
How will Milan Škriniar transform Chelsea
‘Vietnamese Messi’ Nguyen Quang Hai pens deal with Ligue 2 side Pau FC
LAFC triumphs over LA Galaxy in the enthralling derby at Banc of California
Federico Bernardeschi – Toronto’s Italian Job
Players to watch: Top 3 Eredivisie wingers in the 2022/2023 season
How will Tyrell Malacia compare with Erik Ten Hag’s left-backs
Top three Eredivisie Midfielders to look out for in the 2022/23 season
Five MLS defenders to watch in the 2022- season
LAFC 2 – 1 Seattle Sounders – Bale and Chiellini Win on Home Debut for the Black and Gold
MLS Match Report: FC Dallas vs LA Galaxy
DFL Super Cup 2022 Report: RB Leipzig vs Bayern Munich
MLS Match Report: Nashville SC vs Vancouver Whitecaps
MLS Match Report: Sporting KC vs Austin FC
Summer 2022: A summer of the overhaul for Tottenham that should send fans, and opposition frenetic
How Man City could line up Erling Haaland and Kalvin Phillips with their current squad
Players to watch: Top Three Eredivisie wingers in the 2022/2023 season
MLS Match Report: San Jose Earthquakes vs Real Salt Lake
An active transfer window to fire Sparta Rotterdam up on the Eredivisie table
Bergwijn, Kezman, Altidore: Premier League’s 8 Biggest Eredivisie flops
England defeat Germany to win the European Championships
Barcelona have made a significant stride forward with the signing of Jules Kounde
Premier League names Alison Brittain as its first female chair
MLS Match Report: Seattle Sounders vs FC Dallas
Jesus Ferreira – A USMNT Star in the making
MLS Match Report: San Jose Earthquakes vs Inter Miami CF
Top 3 U-25 wingers in La Liga for 2022-23 season
How will Giovani Lo Celso’s return benefit Villarreal?
Chelsea Eyeing Villareal defender Pau Torres for a £50m Move: Good choice for Tuchel?
An Ode to Aaron Ramsey
Steffen Baumgart- The man behind FC Koln’s recent resurgence
Gareth Bale's debut for LAFC
Aaron Long: Red Bull’s New Centre Back
MLS Match Report- Portland Timbers vs Nashville SC
Thomas Tuchel's biggest bet on Raheem Sterling for Chelsea transformation
Dutch League Match Report- Fortuna Sittard vs AFC Ajax
Dutch League Match Report - PSV vs FC Emmen
Ryan Gravenberch - How Ajax shaped him
Calvin Bassey: Continuing the Nigerian dynasty at Ajax
How will Cristiano Ronaldo’s exit impact Manchester United
MLS Match Report- Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs Houston Dynamo
Nathan Byrne heads to the MLS with Charlotte FC
MLS Match Report: Charlotte FC vs Chicago Fire FC
Dutch League Match Report- NEC vs FC Twente
MLS Match Report- Real Salt Lake vs Los Angeles FC
MLS Match Report- Sporting Kansas City vs LA Galaxy
LA Galaxy sign FC Barcelona midfielder Riqui Puig
From Haaland’s double score to Ten Hag’s debut defeat- Here’s all from the first week of Premier League
Alex Telles ‘didn’t think twice’ before leaving Man United and joining Sevilla FC
Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid join race for RB Salzburg’s Benjamin Sesko
Top 5 clubs with most UEFA Super Cup Title
Nottingham Forest’s promotion, Arsenal’s win, Aston Villa’s defeat- all from the first week of Premier League
MLS Match Report- RD 25 - MLS All-Stars vs Liga MX All-Stars
Carlos Vela: The journey from Arsenal to LAFC
UEFA Super Cup Review- Real Madrid vs Frankfurt
The making of one of MLS’ best strikers - Josef Martinez
Is Marc Cucurella the versatile player Chelsea wanted?
How will Denis Bouanga fit with the current LAFC squad?
Why has Manchester United suddenly gone Dutch?
How will Andreas Christensen fit with the current FCB squad
MLS Match Report - Toronto FC vs Portland Timbers
Sevilla fc winger Oussama Idrissi returns to dutch league for another season
Daniil Medvedev records 250th win of career in Los Cabos
Graham Potter – can the progressive head coach work his magic yet again?
Things we learned from Wayne Rooney’s stunning D.C. United managing debut
MLS Match Report - Los Angeles Galaxy vs Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Manchester City, Arsenal, and Aston Villa win big in the second week of the Premier League
MLS Match Report- Los Angeles FC vs Charlotte FC
Manchester City’s new versatile sensation Sergio Gomez
Strikers to look out for in the 2022-23 season of Premier League
MLS Match Report - Nashville SC vs Minnesota United FC
Steven Gerrard and Tyrone Mings bury the hatchet
MLS Match Report- Austin FC vs Sporting Kansas City
Dutch League Match report- Go Ahead Eagles vs PSV
MLS Match Report- Seattle Sounders FC vs Real Salt Lake
Dutch League Match Report- AFC Ajax vs FC Groningen
Feyenoord sign San Jose Earthquakes’ left-back Marcos Lopez
Five new signings in the Eredivisie to watch in 2022-23
From Fulham’s win to Tuchel and Conte’s public feud- all the drama from the second week of Premier League 2022
Grand Prix Badminton League 2022: Sharks & Bulls score thrilling wins, face-off with Wolves & Falcons confirmed
MLS Match Report - FC Dallas vs Philadelphia Union
FC Cincinnati acquire Matt Miazga from Chelsea
Chelsea sign Inter starlet Cesare Casadei
EPL Predictions- Top 3 clubs in standings for this season
Real Salt Lake acquire Danny Musovski from LAFC
How will Jorge Sanchez fit at Ajax?
Jarrad Branthwaite: An underrated wunderkind wanted by every club
Can Robert Lewandowski get Barcelona back on top?
MLS Match Report: Seattle Sounders vs Real Salt Lake
How is SL Benfica Academy so successful at producing and developing young talent
Celtic under Ange Postecoglou
Why Brandon Vázquez should be in the USMNT squad for the World Cup in Qatar this winter
30 years of EPL: How the League changed
Sebastian Driussi, the striker who lifted Austin FC to unthinkable heights
MLS Match Report- Chicago Fire FC vs New York City FC
Pozuelo and Inter Miami on The Precipice of Greatness
Joao Cancelo’s emergence as one of the world’s best full-backs
MLS Match Report - Los Angeles Galaxy vs Seattle Sounders FC
Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City- big names that disappointed in the third week of the Premier League
Spurs, Crystal Palace, and Fulham win big in the third week of the Premier League
MLS Match Report – San Jose Earthquakes vs Los Angeles FC
Alvaro Morata - The Spanish Conspiracy
MLS Match Report – Nashville SC vs FC Dallas
Dutch League Match report- RKC Waalwijk vs Feyenoord
Antoine Griezmann: Underrated wunderkind yet to show his worth
Dutch League Match report- Sparta Rotterdam vs Ajax
Real Salt Lake breaking new ground with their purchase of 18-year-old USYNT playmaker Diego Luna
How will Christian Benteke fit at DC United
Luchi Gonzalez all groomed to bring World Cup-level standard to San Jose
Top 3 managers in La Liga before 2010
Will Casemiro save Man United’s chaotic season
From Spurs to Everton: Dele Alli's fall from grace
LAFC midfielder José Cifuentes: Transfer target for Premier League's Brighton
How Pascal Jansen changed AZ Alkmaar
Xavi Simons: Can the youngster live up to the hype?
Thomas Frank - The Daring Dane
Ibrahim Sangare: PSV’s Ivorian Midfield Powerhouse
MLS Match Report - Orlando City SC vs New York City FC
MLS Match Report - Portland Timbers vs Seattle Sounders FC
MLS Match Report - Chicago Fire vs CF Montreal
Dutch League Match Report- FC Utrecht vs AFC Ajax
Haaland scores a hat-trick; Liverpool thrash Bournemouth 9-0: All from the fourth week of Premier League
MLS Match Report- Austin FC vs Los Angeles FC
Dutch League Match Report – Feyenoord vs FC Emmen
MLS Match Report - Charlotte FC vs Toronto
Dutch League Match Report- FC Volendam vs FC Twente
Bruno Lage transforming Wolverhampton Wanderers FC
Top 3 EPL Managers before 2010
MLS Match Report – New England Revolution vs LA Galaxy
How Toronto FC transformed their squad for the 2022 season
MLS Match Report - FC Dallas vs Real Salt Lake
Punk-Moxley set for a rematch to claim AEW World Championship: AEW Dynamite Recap
Karthik Thulasi: An Indian Origin 24-year-old footballer in La Liga
MLS Match Report- Austin FC vs Portland Timbers
Chelsea, Crystal Palace, and Aston Villa fail to impress in the fourth week of the Premier League
Dutch League Match Report- PSV vs FC Volendam
Anthony Gordon: Merseyside’s latest boy wonder on the verge of a breakthrough
Karim Benzema vs Robert Lewandowski: Who will rule the 2022/23 season
LAFC signs former Barcelona and Real Betis forward Cristian Tello
City Win Big, Liverpool Squeak Through And Arsenal Win Again In Match Week Five Of The Premier League
Granit Xhaka - The Swiss Enigma who turned it around
Jesus Ferreira-Alan Velasco-Paul Arriola: Best attacking trio in the MLS?
MLS Match Report- Houston Dynamo vs LAFC
MLS Match Report – Toronto FC vs LA Galaxy
Wilfried Zaha: What makes this winger so special
Renan Lodi at Nottingham Forest
Can Brandon Vazquez be USMNT’s World Cup striker?
DP Asia Cup 2022 Review- Pakistan vs Hong Kong: Pak wins big against Hong Kong
Dutch League Match Report- AFC Ajax vs SC Cambuur
Is Kayla Harrison the best fighter in Professional Fighters League?
Dutch League Match Report: Go Ahead Eagles Vs Feyenoord
Manchester United, Chelsea, and Brentford win in the sixth week of the Premier League
MLS Match Report - Columbus Crew Vs Chicago Fire
Dutch League Match Report- FC Emmen vs AZ Alkmaar
Kenny Omega: The return of one of the greatest wrestlers on AEW
Arsenal, Fulham, Leicester, and Southampton fail to impress in the sixth week of the Premier League
MLS Match Report – LA Galaxy vs Sporting Kansas City
MLS Match Report - New England Revolution vs New York City
Enes Unal: Is the lethal striker the best talent from Turkey?
MLS Match Report – New York City FC vs FC Cincinnati
Mukhtar vs Driussi - Who is the ultimate MLS star?
Luciano Acosta: The perfect No. 10 for FC Cincinnati
MLS Match Report- Atlanta United vs Toronto FC
Dutch League Match Report- AFC Ajax vs sc Heerenveen
Dutch League Match Report- PSV Eindhoven vs RKC Waalwijk
MLS Match Report- FC Dallas vs Los Angeles FC
Dutch League Match Report- AZ Alkmaar vs FC Twente
MLS Match Report- Chicago Fire FC vs Inter Miami CF
MLS Match Report: Feyenoord vs Sparta Rotterdam
MLS Match Report – Real Salt Lake vs DC United
Carlos Alcaraz becomes the youngest US Open Champion after defeating Casper Ruud in the finale
Ismael Kone: Canada’s next rising young star
MLS Match Report- Minnesota United FC vs Los Angeles FC
Sammy Guevara: AEW Mainstay
Denis Bouanga: Will LAFC’s latest acquisition solidify the MLS Cup title for the team?
Aaron Hickey: The Golden Boy Nominee Ready To Light Up The Premier League
MLS Match Report- Houston Dynamo vs New England Revolution
Late Birdies Deliver Japan’s Kazuki Higa Shinhan Donghae Open Title
Why Chelsea snapped up Graham Potter
MLS Match Report- Colorado Rapids vs San Jose Earthquakes
Brennan Johnson: The next superstar striker with the potential to play for big clubs
EPL Review: Haaland at it again, A sigh of relief for Gerrard, and Chaos at the City Ground
Hany Mukhtar - The German making his name Stateside
Dutch League Match Report- Vitesse vs FC Volendam
MLS Match Report- Los Angeles FC vs Houston Dynamo
Orange Cassidy: The King of Sloth Style
Dutch League Match Report- PSV Eindhoven vs Feyenoord
MLS match report- New York City FC Vs New York Red Bulls