Mateusz Bogusz enjoyed his time playing in Spain. But something fundamental was missing.
On loan from parent club Leeds United of the English Premier League, Bogusz scored seven goals and added eight assists across 65 appearances for UD Ibiza and UD Logroñés of the Spanish second division. In his one season with Logroñés, the team finished 20th and was relegated. At Ibiza, Bogusz finished in 15th last season and once again sat in a relegation spot in 2023.
Football was about survival. And despite being just one step from what many consider the top league in the world with Leeds, Bogusz decided a move to LAFC was the perfect next step in his young career.
More importantly, Bogusz missed the ball.
“My goal is to be in the big team and play good football. Here it is an amazing opportunity for me because the team has the ball most of the game,” Bogusz said. “They score lots of goals. They won the league last year.
“So, I think the club is a perfect fit for me. I can help a lot. I can show my skills because the team is so offensive. This is what I was looking for. I think I will fit very good for this team.”
Bogusz made his LAFC and MLS debut on April 16 against their city rivals the Galaxy in a scintillating 3-2 win, entering as a substitute in the 78th minute and helping the Black & Gold hold on for the win. Bogusz now jumps in to join an LAFC team competing on multiple fronts. The team is near the top of the Western Conference standings through seven matches and is making a deep run in Concacaf Champions League. Despite the plethora of matches in 2023, the club has little room to maneuver and add depth to the squad under salary cap restraints. It was the 21-year-old’s quality and versatility that made a protracted negotiation with Bogusz’s two clubs worth it.
“We are very happy to welcome Mati into our club,” said LAFC Director of Football Operations Marco Garcés. “We’ve been looking for him for quite a while now and eventually we had to opportunity to bring him on.
“I think he’s a player that offers a lot of versatility to our team. With all the regulations and roster constraints, a player like him that can contribute in many different positions is what we wanted and now what we have. We’re very happy to welcome him.”
A dynamic player that always looks to go forward, Bogusz has been used as a midfielder and winger in his career. He was even playing centrally as a No. 9 towards the end of his spell with Ibiza.
“If I can choose, it would be No. 8 or left winger,” Bogusz said when asked at what position he feels most comfortable.
A Polish youth international, Bogusz is another in a trend of European-based players jumping to MLS at an early stage in their careers. LAFC in particular has been amassing young talent from overseas. To start last season, additions to LAFC’s roster were made with an emphasis on players possessing MLS experience like Kellyn Acosta, Maxime Crépeau, and Ilie Sánchez. With that core already in place in 2023, Bogusz joins Stipe Biuk, 20, and Timothy Tillman, 24, as young, talented players from Europe in Black & Gold.
“I spoke before with the Polish player Mateusz Klich. He plays for DC United. I played with him at Leeds United. He told me, it’s a great opportunity,” Bogusz said. “He said about LAFC, they were the best last season. So, they recommended I join here.”
But all of those finer details about his arrival don’t concern Bogusz much as he prepares for his debut. Ultimately, it comes back to the ball.
“I don’t think a lot to be honest. It’s a big club in the US. I think I’m a good player to help the team,” Bogusz said. “And finally, I can show what I do offensively because the last three years I play in a team that defends more. It was not a good thing for me.
“Finally, I have a chance to show what I can do in the offensive game.”