Nathan Ordaz Shining in MLS After Time in UPSL

May 8th, 2024

By Michael Lewis, The Athletic &

There’s nothing like experience, and Nathan Ordaz has gotten plenty of it in his short soccer career.  

Especially while performing for LAFC Academy in the United Premier Soccer League at the age of 17, just a couple years ago. 

“It was fun to play in UPSL,” Ordaz said in a recent interview “It was good competition. It was really good to play against older players and grown men. 

“If you want to become a pro, you have to just be used to playing against older guys because at the end of the day, age doesn’t mean anything once you’re a pro. I just looked at it as if they’re older, but I want to be in an environment where there’s going to be people of all ages and all levels and all different outlooks so I could push myself.” 

The experience has worked wonders for the 5-foot-11, 160-lb. forward, who was signed as a Homegrown Player by LAFC in 2022. 

“It gave me confidence. The competition was solid,” Ordaz said. “When you’re doing good and playing well against good players, it’s always going to bring confidence.” 

Since then, the California native has moved up the ladder in the professional game, joining the first team in 2023. He made 17 appearances and two starts over 251 minutes for the MLS club last year, recording an assist in league play. This season, he has an assist in seven matches (82 minutes) as a substitute and its only up from here. 

To date, Ordaz has one professional goal to his credit, scoring in a 7-1 victory over Juarez in the Leagues Cup on Aug. 2, 2023. 

“It really meant a lot because I was playing games before that,” he said. “Obviously as a forward your job is to score. It was a long time coming. Thank God it came just when it came. 

“I was relieved. It was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders.” 

After the game, Ordaz was given the match ball by the team. 

At this moment, he is eligible to play for three national teams – the U.S., Mexico and El Salvador. Ordaz has played for the Mexican and El Salvadoran Under-20 national teams and has even attended a U.S. U-20 camp. 

“I’m still kind of open in that,” he said. “I’m just waiting to make a decision.” 

The young forward’s professional aspirations include playing for a European club and eventually in the UEFA Champions League, adding that “would be the dream.” 

He realizes he also needs to be concerned about what’s in front of him – trying to break into the LAFC lineup on a regular basis. 

“I’m focused on doing well here,” he said. “I want to move into the first team be a consistent starter and just do well.” 

The former UPSL star has gotten off to a pretty good start so far.

About United Premier Soccer League

The UPSL was formed in 2011 and occupies the unofficial fourth tier of US Soccer. Across its Premier, Division 1, Womens and Academy divisions there are more than 500 teams competing nationwide. The UPSL is now the largest Pro Development League in North America and is a National Affiliate member of the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF). Each UPSL team is individually owned and operated. UPSL teams are eligible to participate in the U.S. Open Cup Qualifying Rounds through the league’s affiliation with USSF. More information about UPSL can be found at or by following the league on Facebook (, Instagram (@upslsoccer) and Twitter (@upslsoccer). Contact UPSL: [email protected] / Media: [email protected]