MEDIA ASSETS: Earthquakes Introduce Designated Player Carlos Gruezo

Gruezo media assets

SAN JOSE, Calif. – The San Jose Earthquakes held an introductory press conference for new Designated Player Carlos Gruezo on Thursday. Gruezo was acquired on Tuesday from German Bundesliga side FC Augsburg and signed to a Designated Player contract through the 2025 season with a club option for 2026.

Gruezo was accompanied by Earthquakes Head Coach Luchi Gonzalez and General Manager Chris Leitch.


Opening remarks:

“I’m thankful for God, coach Luchi [Gonzalez], and Chris [Leitch] for giving me the opportunity to join the San Jose Earthquakes. I’m very happy to be here, to work with the club and be a part of this project. I look forward to working hard to earn a spot with the team and help earn success. I hope to take San Jose to the top of the standings during my seasons here.”

On using his European experience to help the team:

“I matured a lot during the last three years. I think that my personal growth has been really good because that helps me to come here and work hard, join this club, and share that experience and learnings with my new teammates. But that doesn’t guarantee me anything. I have to work hard, be physically fit, try to do my best and be a part of this family that has been forming. We have been building that and that gives me peace knowing that they have welcomed me well. I’m looking forward to working hard and stay humble. Any way I can help my teammates and this club, I’ll do it in the best way possible so that together as a team, as a family, we can achieve those results we’re all striving for.”

On Luchi’s involvement in the transfer process:

“I’m thankful for Luchi’s trust in me. We spoke about this project, and he asked me if I wanted to join him, and I said yes because we had worked together before. I know how he works, his work ethic is excellent, and he has grown with the U.S. Men’s National Team. I also spoke with my family, which were happy and supportive, so we decided to come here and hopefully make history with this club. I look forward to working together and accomplish our objectives.”

On expectations of him being a Designated Player:

“It's an interesting situation because there are more expectations. The fact that the coach knows me does not guarantee me anything. I have to prove myself at training every day, stay physically fit, and be up to par to do what’s required this year. There is an excellent group here, players with a lot of quality, that will also teach me things. I want to know them, bond with them, and give my best. To me, the most important thing is that San Jose accomplishes everything we aim for this year. Regardless of who plays, we’re here to support and be leaders on and off the field. That’s what’s most important. And I’ll push myself to the max so that I can be ready when needed.”


On Gruezo’s impact:

“Carlos is a big piece of this roster build. Luchi can speak to what he is going to add to this team, but we are very excited to have him as a part of this very competitive group. I have said this before, but we are always and constantly looking for ways of how we can improve the roster. So, we have some good roster flexibility right now and we remain opportunistic, but we do also feel very good about the current group of players that we have.” 

On factors that contributed to signing Gruezo:

“A lot of factors were taken into consideration. I think we have talked about it here, but he most recently played in one of the top leagues around the world, in the Bundesliga, and he’s played in multiple World Cups. He’s also a proven commodity in Major League Soccer. I think he made the playoffs three out of the four years with FC Dallas there. He’s in the prime of his career as far as his age, at 27, so we are very bullish on him being one of the better players in his position in our whole league. So, a number of those factors were considered in giving us a good feeling about adding Carlos into this group. We also feel like this is going to give us the ability to free up some of our attacking players, as well as Carlos can really command a big space on the field.”

On if Gruezo will make the team more competitive:

“Absolutely. One of Carlos’ best attributes we feel is his competitiveness. I don’t care if it’s 4v4 or 6v6 or if it’s a 1v1 dual, the one thing that is for sure is we feel like Carlos is going to compete and compete at the highest level. He’s done that in some of the best leagues around the world. He’s done that when he’s been here in the MLS and so having that competitive fire that’s added to a group that, as the coach will tell you, showed to be extremely competitive in this first part of preseason, is a necessary ingredient to what we think is going to be a recipe for success for us this year. He is a competitor. He’s a guy that may not show up on the stat sheet in some ways but in the ways that we feel like we’re going to utilize him will show up in every other part of the field. His competitive nature is going to lend itself to free up other players offensively but also make us more defensively robust both in the center of the park as well as in the defensive part of the field. For sure, absolutely Carlos is a key ingredient to that.”


On Gruezo’s impact:

“Obviously, like Chris had mentioned, our process was to solidify and improve the midfield with a competitive piece, an experienced piece, depth, a leader on and off the field, someone that can be a great example in the locker room but also align himself with the way we want to play and our identity on the field, which is with a lot of intensity, a lot of urgency. And so those were the things we saw in Carlos. He’s a proven MLS player, he’s won the Supporters Shield, Open Cup. Like Chris had mentioned, playoff experience, and I think those things on and off the field are a way of life in our league which is a long season and not easy to do. So, the opportunity to have a player in the midfield that influences the group and is a part of our spine and will help our attacking players attack and help our defensive players stay structured and organized to defend our goal. It was a great opportunity to bring him to this club and back to an environment that I’m with. But I think the most important thing is what Carlos said: he wants to be here; he wants to be a San Jose Earthquakes player. I think analysis we do with a player, no matter position or talent, when a player tells you they want to be a San Jose Earthquake, that’s the best starting point that we can have going into the next step.” 

On integrating with the current coaching style and team:

“I had half a year of experience with him on the field. I know him from the years prior in Dallas. But, already in a week it’s been a very positive transition. The locker room has a great foundation of good human beings, good character, hard workers, and already a lot of intensity and creativity. So, you can see Carlos already integrating in that way with the team itself. It’s going to take time, it will be a process, but we are looking forward to it progressing and potentializing.”