This is Part 17 in a series of players that make up the 2010 Los Angeles Galaxy.
When it comes to finding a role model for America's young soccer talent to follow, you have to consider Chris Klein as a shining example.
An accomplished veteran of Major League Soccer for more than a decade, a man of deep faith and an avid coach of the game, Klein overcame injury—not once, but twice—to cement his place as one of MLS's resilient midfielders.
Standing at a tall 1.85 meters, the No. 7's presence and ability will prove vital to the Los Angeles Galaxy's chances of lifting their third MLS Cup.
Chris Klein was born on January 4, 1976 in St. Louis, Missouri. Known for its Gateway Arch, the 1904 World's Fair and Olympic Games as well as culinary institutions like Provel cheese, St. Louis has a rich soccer tradition.
The Saint Louis University Billikens men's soccer program earned national championships in 1959, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1965, 1969, 1970, 1972 and 1973.
St. Louis Athletica spent more than a season in Women's Professional Soccer, and featured stars such as Eniola Aluko and Hope Solo.
A.C. St. Louis, a new team making their mark in the Gateway City, currently compete in the USSF D2 Pro League and will compete in the revived North American Soccer League next season.
Klein began his career with the Spartans of DeSmet Jesuit High School in nearby Creve Coeur. After he graduated, he played for the Indiana University Hoosiers, scoring 11 goals and 11 assists in 88 appearances for Jerry Yeagley's club.
Klein also led the Hoosiers to a College Cup Finals apperance in 1994 where they lost to the University of Virginia Cavaliers, coached by rising managerial star named Bruce Arena, who would go on to coach DC United, the USA National Team, and the Los Angeles Galaxy.
In 1998, Klein was selected as the fourth-overall pick by the Kansas City Wizards in the 1998 MLS College Draft. It was a difficult rookie year for Klein, as he only managed eight starts.
Slowly but surely, the minutes began to come. In 1999, Chris Klein became a fixture in the midfield with his superior ballhandling ability and dispossessing prowess. Klein scored his first goal on May 8, 1999 in a 2-1 victory over the Galaxy and would record six goals and five assists in 24 games for KC.
But the success really began to bear fruit for Klein in the 2000 season.
With DC United going through a transitional year, Kansas City seized the opportunity and earned their first-ever MLS Cup. Klein played a huge role in the Wizards' successful campaign, notching six goals and eight assists in 26 appearances.
Klein continued his consistent form in 2001 but had to recover from knee surgery. He would go on to earn his first Comeback Player of the Year Award, chalking up seven goals and five assists in 25 appearances in the 2002 MLS season.
Once again, Klein's consistent form was rewarded with six goals and four assists to finish third on the Wizards in scoring during the 2003 campaign. However, in 2004, Klein suffered a torn ACL was ruled out for the remainder of the season.
For many athletes, a torn ACL have cut their careers short. Not Chris Klein.
Drawing inspiration and perseverance from his religious upbringing (he is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes), Klein stormed back to be named a MLS All-Star for the fourth straight year in 2005. He went on to win his second Comeback Player of the Year award, finishing with nine assists, a career high.
Klein's 200th match donning the Wizards strip during a October 15th contest against FC Dallas was also his last match for Kansas City, as he was acquired by Real Salt Lake.
During the 2006 season, Klein tied his career high of seven goals, adding eight assists in 32 starts for RSL. But his time in Utah would be fleeting, since the 2007 season would see him traded to the blue and gold of the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Klein started all five SuperLiga contests for the G's and scored a noteworthy overhead kick against CF Pachuca in the final. It was a sign of things to come.
In the 2008 season, Klein set a new MLS record with his 94th consecutive game started, a May 24th match with his old club, the Kansas City Wizards. An ironman of resilient form, Klein started all 30 matches for LA, with the streak of consecutive starts increased to 115 games.
That streak would be halted at 118, but Klein would move into third place in most career games played in MLS with 322 while playing in 141 consecutive league matches. During the 2009 MLS Cup, he converted his attempt in the penalty shootout against Real Salt Lake.
As a member of the US Men's National Team, Klein has scored five goals in 25 appearances. Aside from playing the game, Chris Klein coaches the game. He is an assistant coach of Tamiko Davila's Newport Mesa Soccer Club, a park of the West Ham United International Academy.
A remarkable footballer with exceptional perseverance. The Captain Comeback of the Los Angeles Galaxy... that is none other than No. 7, Chris Klein.
And in 2010, the comeback kid will look to launch the Galaxy's return to the MLS Cup with the same intangibles that got him to where he is today.
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