Alexi Lalas

Alexi Lalas
Personal information
Full name Panayotis Alexander Lalas
Date of birth (1970-06-01) June 1, 1970
Place of birth Birmingham, Michigan, United States
Height 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Playing position Defender
College career
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1988–1991 Rutgers
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1994–1995 Padova 33 (3)
1995–1996Padova (loan from MLS) 11 (0)
1996–1997 New England Revolution 57 (3)
1997Emelec (loan)
1998 MetroStars 25 (2)
1999 Kansas City Wizards 30 (4)
2001–2003 Los Angeles Galaxy 69 (7)
National team
1991–1998 United States 96 (9)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Panayotis Alexander "Alexi" Lalas (born June 1, 1970) is a 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,[1][2]

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.[3] Lalas' playing style was characterized by physical ability and endurance.[4]

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.[5]

Personal life

Lalas was born in Birmingham, Michigan, United States, to a Greek father, Demetrius Lalas and an American mother, Anne Harding Woodworth. His father was a professor who later became the director of Greece's national observatory, while his mother is a writer and poet. Lalas speaks Spanish and Italian, in addition to his native English and Greek.[6]

Playing career

High school

Lalas attended Cranbrook Kingswood School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Even though he did not begin playing soccer until he was eleven, he had developed his skills enough to be named the 1987 Michigan High School Player of the Year by his senior year. In addition to playing soccer, he was a member and captain of his high school hockey team, which won the state championship. Lalas was rated for the Ontario Hockey League Midget draft in 1987, but was not selected.[7]


Lalas attended Rutgers University where he played on the men's soccer team from 1988 to 1991. During his four seasons at Rutgers with the Scarlet Knights he reached the NCAA Final Four in 1989 and the National Championship Game in 1990.[8] Lalas was named a third team All-American in 1989 and 1990. In 1991, he gained first team All American recognition and was selected for both the Hermann Trophy and the Missouri Athletic Club Player of the Year award. As he did in high school, Lalas also played hockey in college, leading the team in scoring in 1989.[9]

Lalas left Rutgers in 1991 to focus on the U.S. national team despite being interested in finishing his degree. He resumed his education in 2013, when Rutgers began offering enough online classes to fulfill what Lalas required to graduate. Lalas took 12 classes and 36 credits over 10 months to finish what he jokingly called "a 26-year plan", earning a bachelor's degree in English with a minor in music in May 2014.[10]

After college and the 1992 Summer Olympics, Lalas trained with former Arsenal player Bob McNab in California. This led to a trial with Arsenal during the winter of 1992. It was quickly determined that Lalas did not have the quality for a first team spot. As a result, Lalas only had a few training sessions with the Reserve team before being cut shortly after his arrival in North London.[11] Lalas then returned home in Detroit and spent a month reluctant about his future in soccer before coach Bora Milutinovic invited him for the United States tryouts in Mission Viejo, California.[12]


Following the 1994 FIFA World Cup, Lalas signed with Italian Serie A club Padova. While Lalas anchored the team's defense and scored three goals off set pieces (including against A.C. Milan & Internazionale), Padova finished the 1994–1995 season at the bottom of the standings. Only after winning a relegation play off on June 10, 1995, did the team ensure its survival in the top ranks for the next season. On June 25, 1995, Major League Soccer (MLS) signed Lalas to play for one of the new league's teams. While MLS had intended to begin playing in 1995, it had run into difficulties and so delayed the first season until 1996. In order to allow Lalas to maintain his match fitness, MLS loaned him back to Padova for the 1995–1996 season. Lalas last played for Padova in a home game against Lazio on February 25, 1996.

Major League Soccer

Prior to 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.[13]


Lalas is currently a part-time player for Hollywood United F.C., an American soccer club based in Southern California, primarily made up of celebrities and former pro players.

National team career

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.[14] 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.[15] His contributions to the national team led to his selection as the 1995 U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year. While Lalas was on the roster for the U.S. at the 1998 FIFA World Cup, he never entered a game.[16] 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.


Los Angeles Galaxy



Career statistics


Club performance League Cup League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
USA League Open Cup League Cup North America Total
1996New England RevolutionMajor League Soccer251
1998MetroStarsMajor League Soccer252
1999Kansas City WizardsMajor League Soccer304
2001Los Angeles GalaxyMajor League Soccer112
Total USA 16916
Career total 16916

Musical career

Lalas has a noted affinity for rock music. He played in a band called The Gypsies ever since college, which even opened European concerts for Hootie & The Blowfish in 1998.[22] The Gypsies were featured in self-produced, self-distributed album Woodland, released by Lalas during the 1994 World Cup,[12] and Lalas has also released three solo albums: Ginger (1998), Far from Close (2008) and Infinity Spaces (2014).[23]


  1. Lalas, a rock n' roll star
  2. This essay on U.S. soccer history, however, indicates that other two American-born players, Alfonso Negro and Armando Frigo, appeared for Serie A teams in the late 1930s, making Lalas the third American-born player in the Italian top league.
  3. Alexi Lalas – USMNT
  4. "The Most Influential XI as U.S. Soccer turns 100". Retrieved 3 June 2013.
  5. "Soccer analyst Alexi Lalas opens up about decision to leave ESPN for Fox". Retrieved 19 December 2014.
  7. "Alexi Lalas Biography – Plays College Soccer, High Profile Player At World Cup, Played In Italy, Chronology, Played For Mls Team – SELECTED WRITINGS BY LALAS:". 1970-06-01. Retrieved 2009-03-10.
  8. "Rutgers History". Archived from the original on 2009-01-02. Retrieved 2009-03-10.
  9. 1 2 3 "Alexi Lalas profile". Retrieved 2009-03-10.
  10. Politi, Steve (2014-05-15). "Alexi Lalas returns to Rutgers for 'unfinished business:' His college degree (Politi)". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved 2014-06-03.
  11. Mooney, Kevin. "Lalas in London". Archived from the original on 26 November 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-23.
  12. 1 2 WORLD CUP '94 / 25 DAYS AND COUNTING : A SOCCER ROCKER : Lalas Plays to Own Beat : U.S. Defender Is a Hit With Fans but Hits Sour Note With Game's Purists
  13. "MLS timeline". Retrieved 2009-03-10.
  14. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 29, 2012. Retrieved July 15, 2012.
  15. "''Sports Illustrated''". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2009-03-10.
  16. "Team Roster". Archived from the original on 2009-01-22. Retrieved 2009-03-10.
  17. "CCL stats". LA Galaxay. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
  18. "Alexi Lalas runs the hill during the 2001 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup". LA Galaxy. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
  19. 1 2 3 4 "Alexi Lalas – USMNT". Retrieved 27 August 2014.
  20. "Anschutz, Lalas called to soccer's Hall". MLS Soccer. 23 January 2010. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
  22. Alexi Lalas interview: Solace in sound springs eternal for former US international

External links

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