The American Soccer Player Finding Success In Sweden
With dual citizenship in the United States and Costa Rica and at just 20 years of age, Ariel Lassiter, a Temecula native, is making some noise on the global soccer scene. The son of legendary striker Roy Lassiter, Ariel is well on the way to his own soccer success.
A member of the US National Team pool at the U14 and U20 levels, Ariel Lassiter signed with Sweden’s GAIS on July 24th of this year. After waiting two weeks for his work permit to be approved, this California home grown youth soccer player was off forging his own soccer success. Since his signing, Ariel has started all eight games and has recorded two goals and three assists. Quickly making an impact on the soccer field across the Atlantic, he’s already received two Man of the Match awards to add to his impressive resume.
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GAIS, commonly referred to as Grönsvart (Green Blacks), is based out of Gothenburg, Sweden, the second largest city in Sweden. After signing with GAIS, Ariel was offered a 2-year contract with NIKE and has gained interest from the Costa Rican U23 National Team Coached by Pablo Cesar Wanchope. He is also being watched very closely by Tab Ramos with the U21 US National Team squad.
With just 3 games left in the season in Sweden, Ariel is looking to return to the squad next season and has already signed on for another year. Current plans are for Ariel to be in Sweden in January , 2015 for pre-season training.
The young talent is also represented by Dan Segal, the same agent for Tim Howard and Demarcus Beasley with the US National Team.
Athleticism and success on the soccer field runs in the family. Ariel is the son of Roy Lassiter, one of Major League Soccer‘s (MLS) most prolific goal scorers. In fact, Roy “made 32 international CAPS and scored 4 goals for the United States Men’s National Team from 1992 to 2000. Ariel’s father is a three-time MLS All Star for 1996, 1998 and 1998 and established the record his record for most goals in a single MLS season with 27. This record has not been beat, only tied by San Jose Earthquakes’ Chris Wondolowski who joined after the 2012 season as co-holder of the title of most goals scored.
After Ariel spent 5 years of his youth soccer club career training with San Diego’s Albion SC being coached by his father as well as the club’s technical director, Noah Gins, he reached multiple pinnacles of success. The young Lassiter was crowned a three-time National State Champion and as well as earning the 2011 US Youth Soccer National Championship Golden Ball award. “Ariel came to Albion SC at U14 and we knew that he was a very special player. Ariel had an understanding of the game that was years ahead of his age. He has always been a technical player. The thing about Ariel is he is pure instinct around the goal and, in his age group, was one of the best finishers in the country,” said Gins, Technical Director of Albion SC- San Diego.
It should come as no surprise that Cal Poly SLO was eager to welcome the pacey playmaker into their team after graduation from Great Oak High School. And he did not disappoint. After just his freshman season, Ariel saw time in all 21 matches, scored five goals, added four helpers qualifying him as the team’s second leading scorer and earning him a spot on the Big West Conference all-freshman team.
After accomplishing so much in just one collegiate season, Lassiter made the tough decision to try his luck in Europe. His father Roy had nothing but positive things to say about the move. “We, as a family, are very proud of Ari. He left a full college scholarship to Cal Poly SLO to follow is dream of being a professional soccer player. Air is determined to reach his goal and be successful. We always knew he should be a professional soccer player and now that he is, it’s a lot of hard work day in and day out. He seems to really enjoy everything in Sweden and they have treated him very well at GAIS. We are hoping to go over to Sweden and visit him next year and spend some time with him in Gothenburg.”
GAIS manager Peo Heather was also immediately taken by Ariel’s pace and goal scoring prowace. “He is an exciting player who brings speed and quality of some elements of our game, especially in the attacking third. He is interesting player who is ambitious and has the right drive. He has been a pleasure to work with.”
“Ari is an extremely humble and thankful young man who is blessed be playing a sport he loves for a living,” said the senior Lassiter who is retired as a pro soccer player and is giving back to the beautiful game as the Technical Director of United Futbol Club in Southern California.
Ariel Lassiter is a soccer player to watch as he continues to make his impact felt on the field.