Rafa Garcia celebrates his wonder goal against the Brookln Italians earlier this season (Photo courtesy of the Cosmos)
By Michael Lewis
A second Cosmos B player has found a new team.
Las Vegas Lights FC Friday signed veteran midfielder Rafa Garcia for the remainder of the United Soccer League season.
Garcia, the National Premier Soccer League team’s defensive midfielder, played a vital role in Cosmos B’s winning the North Atlantic Conference this past season.
The 29-year-old Garcia joined defender John Neeskens, who signed with SD Formentera of the Spanish Third Division, as players who have moved on after Cosmos B was eliminated from the NPSL playoffs.
“Rafa is a unique player, because he is experienced, but also has the hunger of a younger player,” Lights FC technical director Chelís said. “That is why he’ll be very important for us in this final part of the season. He is a hard-working, holding midfielder, and I’m sure that he will never stop during the minutes he plays. He will give maximum effort for this team.”
After FC Motown eliminated Cosmos B in the Northeast Region finals July 21, Garcia said three days later that he wanted to take some time off from the game to be with his family.
That changed, although Las Vegas is a lot closer to his southern California home.
Garcia had been away from his family since April – they visited him for two weeks this summer. He said that he would “regroup a little, see my family, my wife and my kids. That always puts me in good spirits.”
But let’s say an opportunity did pop up.
“This is something that I have thought about, spoken to my wife and my agent, stuff like that,” he said at the time. “I’m not ruling out any possibilities. I haven’t made up my mind on what I’m doing next. I feel that I have missed out a lot since I’ve been here, since I’ve been out here by myself. Now, I go into full daddy mode.”
Garcia scored one of the most memorable goals of the 2018 NPSL season, striking from the halfway line for the game-winner in a 2-1 win over the Brooklyn Italians May 15.
While with LA Galaxy, Garcia was teammates with Lights FC midfielder Raul Mendiola. Mendiola was also a midseason signee for the club this summer, scoring five goals over the course of 10 appearances.
Las Vegas plays at Saint Louis FC Saturday at 5:30 p.m.