Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Union signs Guatemalan F Ruiz

The Philadelphia Union have signed Guatemalan forward Carlos “El Pescadito” Ruiz on a free transfer from Greek SuperLiga club Aris FC.

Ruiz, voted Major League Soccer’s Most Valuable Player in his first season, returns to the League after two years playing abroad. Ruiz will be eligible to play pending receiving his International Transfer Certificate. Per MLS and club policy, terms of the deal will not be disclosed.

Ruiz signed with the LA Galaxy in 2002 and made an immediate impact, scoring 24 goals and earning the League’s MVP and Golden Boot awards. His stellar season led the Galaxy to the MLS Cup title, an accomplishment he shared with current Philadelphia Union captain Danny Califf. Ruiz secured another Golden Boot award the following season, scoring 15 goals to tie Taylor Twellman for the top total in MLS.

In 2005, Ruiz was transferred to FC Dallas, where he stayed until 2008, tallying 31 goals and nine assists in 68 matches. In 2008, he was sent back to LA but was traded to Toronto FC once the summer transfer window opened.

In six MLS seasons, Ruiz played a total of 155 matches, 137 as a starter, logging 12,349 minutes and registering 82 goals and 17 assists. Ruiz also holds the record for most goals in MLS postseason history with 16. The 31-year-old is the 10th-highest all-time scorer in MLS history, and third among active players.

Since leaving MLS in 2009, Ruiz has continued to be an offensive threat, notching 20 goals in 66 appearances with Paraguayan First Division club Olimpia Asunción FC (ten goals in 18 appearances), Mexican First Division club Puebla FC (nine goals in 33 appearances), and Super League Greece club Aris FC (one goal in 15 appearances). Recently, the striker notched three goals in UEFA Europa League competition against FK Austria Wien (2) and Norwegian side Rosenborg BK (1).

“El Pescadito” began his professional career in 1995 with Guatemalan club CSD Municipal, where he spent seven seasons and accumulated 59 goals and two “Clausura” championships (2000 and 2002) in 143 appearances. Ruiz debuted with the Guatemalan National Team on November 11, 1998 in a friendly match against Mexico. He netted his first goal against El Salvador on March 19, 1999 and has since has become his country’s all-time leading scorer with 41 goals in 86 caps. In 2001, Ruiz led Guatemala to a first place finish in the UNCAF Nations Cup after settling for second place the previous three years.

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