Galaxy’s A.J. DeLaGarza voted MLS’ humanitarian of the year

Galaxy's A.J. Delagarza, left, goes for a header against Manchester United's Danny Welbeck at the Rose Bowl in July.
(Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)

It’s been a rough year for Galaxy defender A.J. DeLaGarza, who lost his son Luca to a congenital heart defect a week after he was born.

But DeLaGarza managed to turn that tragedy into inspiration, raising money for other families with children affected by the condition. And for that, and his other charity work, DeLaGarza was honored Tuesday as Major League Soccer’s humanitarian of the year.

DeLaGarza has long volunteered his time and support to Camps for Kids, visits to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and other youth-targeted causes. And after Luca died, DeLaGarza and his wife, Megan, helped raise $25,000 for the heart center at CHLA.

As part of the award, MLS Works will donate $5,000 in DeLaGarza’s name to the charity of his choice.


Former Galaxy teammate Sean Franklin, a Cal State Northridge product now playing for D.C. United, finished fourth in the balloting for the award, which was voted on by MLS teams, players and members of the media.