A recent survey conducted by Loyola Marymount University named Carlos Vela third most popular athlete in Los Angeles.
The first is… LeBron James. Because, well, he’s LeBron James.
Vela has been in Los Angeles less than three years, first joining LAFC in 2018. Apparently, he has made quite an impression on its denizens. Though that shouldn’t really be a surprise either, considering what a dynamic presence he has been for LAFC so far.
The study which found Carlos Vela third most popular was published by The Los Angeles Times Friday. LeBron James tallied a staggering 46 percent of the vote. Cody Bellinger of the Los Angeles Dodgers came in second with about 11 percent. Carlos Vela managed to crack the top three with a little over eight percent of the vote.
Notably, the survey has Carlos Vela third most popular ahead of fourth place finisher Mike Trout, the Los Angeles Angels’ superstar outfielder.
LeBron James, one of the most famous players in the history of any sport, had something of a leg up in the survey, or any popularity contest for that matter, despite being in Los Angeles for the same amount of time as Carlos Vela. Cody Bellinger, too, has seen his star rise rapidly in Los Angeles in recent years, winning Most Valuable Player of the National League last season. And Mike Trout might be the greatest player to ever play the game when all is said and done.
That’s some pretty elite company.
If you’re still wondering what made Carlos Vela third most popular athlete in Los Angeles, don’t wonder too hard.
Carlos Vela Third Most Popular LA Athlete in 2019
- 34 goals (1st all-time)
- 25 goals from open play (1st all-time)
- 9 penalty goals (1st)
- 15 assists (3rd)
- 160 shots (1st)
- 71 shots on goal (1st)
- 1.12 goals-per-game average (1st all-time)
- MLS All-Star Game Captain (2nd consecutive year)
- 3x MLS Player of the Month
- 7x MLS Player of the Week
- 17x MLS Team of the Week
Vela joined LAFC in their inaugural season as their first ever Designated Player. Since then, he has tallied 51 goals and 29 assists in an astonishing run of form that has been unparalleled over the course of the first 25 years of Major League Soccer.
Last year Carlos Vela was named the 2019 Landon Donovan Major League Soccer Most Valuable Player after what was unquestionably the great season ever completed by an individual in the history of Major League Soccer.
In 2019, Vela scored a total of 34 goals in only 31 games played in the regular season, good enough for number one on the list of all-time goals-per-game average (1.12 gpg). He had 11 goals and five assists in his first 10 matches of 2019, and scored his first 20 goals in exactly 20 games, making him the first person to ever reach that mark. He also led the league in shots and shots on goal during the regular season.
Vela also tallied 15 assist during the 2019 regular season, which placed him third in the league. His 34 goals and 15 assists for a combined 49 goals contributed to smashed the old MLS record of 38, set by Toronto FC striker Sebastian Giovinco in 2015. Giovinco is the only other person to reach the 20 goals/15 assist mark with his 22 and 16. Ultimately, Vela created a new and even more exclusive club last season— 30 goals and 15 assists.
Vela is the first player of Mexican descent to win MLS MVP. And after two seasons and chance he already has the most career goals by any Mexican player in the history of the league.
Helping LAFC capture the Supporters’ Shield and the top seed in the playoffs, Vela led LAFC in 2019 to the the record for points in a season (72), the highest ever goal differential in league history (+48), and the they tied the single-season team scoring record with 85 goals.
Like I said, is it any wonder people voted Carlos Vela third most popular athlete in Los Angeles?