MSoc: Former Gaucho star Friend signs with Galaxy

Rob Friend, one of the greatest goal scorers in UCSB soccer history, was signed by the Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer.

Former UCSB star Rob Friend signed with the L.A. Galaxy.

Former UCSB star Rob Friend signed with the L.A. Galaxy.

Friend, a Canadian international, has spent his professional career in Europe after playing at UCSB in 2001 and 2002. He scored 31 goals (fourth all-time) and had nine assists in 40 matches for the Gauchos. He holds the single season goal-scoring record at UCSB with 20.

Friend is arguably UCSB’s best forward playing with his back to the goal. He scored several of his goals by chest-trapping a ball to his feet and ripping a shot past the goalkeeper.

The Galaxy plan to use Friend as a target striker that Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan can run off of in the attack.

“The addition of Rob Friend to our roster brings a different dimension to our attack,” Galaxy GM and head coach Bruce Arena said in a statement. “Rob is a veteran player with a scoring pedigree and we are excited to bolster our roster by bringing him to L.A.”

The 32-year-old 6-5 striker from Kelowna, B.C., recently played for TSV 1860 Munich in the German Bundesliga. He’s also played in Norway and the Netherlands.

Friend was originally selected by the Chicago Fire in the fourth round of the 2003 MLS SuperDraft. He elected to go to Europe, where he played for Moss and then Molde in Norway.

In June 2006, Friend signed with Heerenveen in the Dutch Eredivisie. He split the season with Heerenveen and Heracles Almelo.

Friend moved to Germany for the 2007-08 campaign, scoring a pro career best 18 goals in 33 league games for Borussia Moenchengladbach while helping them win promotion to the German Bundesliga.

He was sold to Hertha Berlin before the 2010-11 season, joining Eintracht Frankfurt before switching to TSV 1860.

He has scored 75 goals in nearly 260 professional matches in Europe.

Friend has also made 32 appearances for the Canadian national team and scored two goals.

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