Academy Staff & Coaches
After a standout 12-year career in MLS that saw him win MLS Cup in 2000 and set new MLS records for most consecutive games started and games played, Chris Klein retired from the game following the 2010 MLS season to become the Galaxy’s Senior Director of the LA Galaxy Academy. He was officially named to that position in December 2010, before becoming a Vice President for the club in February 2012 and President in January 2013.
In his new role, Klein, will help arrange and organize the international friendlies that the Galaxy play each year while also serving as the club’s lead on all MLS and community development related matters. Additionally, the St. Louis, Mo. native will continue to oversee the long-term financial and technical plan for the Academy, while building a strong presence in the local soccer community. Klein, who also sits on the board of the Hammarby Football Club in Sweden, representing AEG, a part owner of the club, is also in charge of developing and improving the Academy’s training facilities and programs, coaching staff and recruitment program.
A four-time All-Star in MLS, Klein ranks fifth in league history with 333 career games played as a member of the Kansas City Wizards, Real Salt Lake and the Galaxy, who he joined in June 2007. In his time with the Galaxy, Klein appeared in more than 100 games in all competitions, scoring five times and adding 15 assists.
The 37-year-old, who holds his USSF “B” coaching license, began his MLS career in 1998 when he was selected by the Kansas City Wizards in the first round (4th overall) of the MLS College Draft. In eight years with the Wizards, Klein helped the club win their first MLS Cup in 2000, assisting on Miklos Molnar’s game-winning goal as the Wizards defeated Chicago 1-0. An All-Star every year from 2002-05, Klein scored 39 goals and added 45 assists in his time with the club, while also helping them win the 2004 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Klein is the only player in MLS history to win the league’s Comeback Player of the Year award twice, doing so in 2002 and 2005 after twice recovering from serious knee injuries.
Prior to the start of the 2006 season, Klein was traded to Real Salt Lake, where he had eight goals and nine assists in 43 games for the club. He was on the move once again in June 2007 when he was acquired by the Galaxy in exchange for Robbie Findley and Nathan Sturgis.
Klein immediately established himself as one of the most reliable players in the Galaxy squad as he went on to set MLS records for consecutive games started (118) and games played (141) that still stand today. In 94 regular season appearances for the club, Klein had two goals and 15 assists, while adding a pair of goals in the 2007 SuperLiga. The second of these goals cemented his place in club lore, as his bicycle kick in the final seconds of second half stoppage time in the SuperLiga Final, tied the game at 1- 1 and sent the match to extra time.
In addition to his play in MLS, Klein earned 22 caps with the U.S. National Team, scoring five goals and adding three assists. He made his international debut in a 2-0 win over Mexico on 10/25/2000 at the Rose Bowl and scored his first goal for the U.S. in his eighth appearance, a 4-0 win over Canada in January 2003. He two goals and two assists in six games for the U.S. in 2006, making his final appearance for his country in March of that year.
Klein played his college soccer at Indiana University, playing in 88 games during his four years with the Hoosiers. He finished his college career with 19 goals and 18 assists and led his team to the NCAA Tournament four times, including a berth in the College Cup Final in 1994 where they lost to Bruce Arena’s University of Virginia.
U-18 Head Coach
A native of Alexandria, Virginia, Alex Yi brings a great deal of soccer experience and knowledge to the LA Galaxy Youth Academy as the U-18 Head Coach.
As a teenager, Yi represented the U-17 national team and joined the Brandenton Academy. Upon graduation from the prestigious soccer academy, Yi enrolled at UCLA. After being named PAC 10 Player of the Year and a third team All-American as a sophomore, Yi left UCLA to pursue a professional soccer career in Europe.
After playing two seasons in 2002-2004 with Royal Antwerp of the Belgian First Division, a Manchester United feeder, Yi returned to the MLS to play for FC Dallas from 2005-2008. Due to injury, Yi retired from professional soccer in April, 2008 and began coaching the University of Dayton. Now, Alex Yi has returned to school at UCLA to get his degree. Yi unique career and wide range of experiences make him a great and invaluable addition to the Youth Academy’s staff.
U-16 Head Coach
A former youth player at Swindon Town and Oxford United, Craig Harrington is in his second year with the Galaxy Academy after being hired in January 2011 as an Academy Coach and Administrator before becoming the Academy Development Coach in 2012. Harrington assists Galaxy Academy Vice President Chris Klein in the development and growth of all of the Galaxy Academy programs. After taking over as Head Coach of the U16 LA Galaxy Academy Team from Kenny Arena midway through the 2011-12 season Harrington led his squad to the 2011-12 SoCal Division championship.
Prior to joining the Galaxy, the Hillingdon, England native had spent the previous six years helping to develop some of the top young players in Southern California as the Director of Coaching at the Newport Mesa Soccer Club and the Technical Director at the Tustin Premier Soccer Club. Additionally, Harrington spent the past two years as an assistant coach with the Santiago Community College mens soccer team.
A graduate of the University of Kent in England where he played three years for the schools soccer team, Harrington holds a USSF A coaching license.
U-15 Head Coach
An assistant coach at UCLA with more than 10 years of college coaching experience, Eddie Soto is in his first season as the Galaxy Youth Academy’s U-15 Head Coach. A native of Long Beach, Calif., Soto has spent the last five years as an assistant coach for the Bruins, helping them reach the 2005 College Cup Final in his first year with the program. Soto will be assisted by former MLS defender Gordon Kljestan this season with the U-18’s.
The second leading scorer in the history of Cal State Fullerton, Soto was a two-time All-American for the Titans. He scored 38 goals in his three years of college soccer, including a school record 18 as a senior in 1994. He helped Fullerton reach the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals that year, one year after leading them to the College Cup Semifinals for the first time in school history.
He began his college coaching career as an assistant coach for the women’s soccer team at Long Beach City College in 1997, before returning to his alma mater as an assistant coach in 2001. Soto also spent time as an assistant coach for the women’s soccer team at Long Beach State before joining Jorge Salcedo’s staff at UCLA in 2006.
An assistant for the Galaxy Academy U-16’s last year, Soto was drafted by the MetroStars in the 1996 MLS Inaugural Player Draft and was then taken by San Jose in the 1998 MLS Supplemental Draft. He also played for the L.A. Salsa and Orange County Zodiac of the USISL.
U-15 and U-18 Assistant Coach
A seven-year MLS veteran and former LA Galaxy defender, Boyens is in his first year as a coach with the LA Galaxy Academy. Originally drafted by Toronto FC with the 10 overall pick in the 2007 MLS SuperDraft out of the University of New Mexico, Boyens was a member of the 2010 FIFA World Cup New Zealand team. Selected by the Galaxy in the first round of Phase 2 of the 2011 Re-Entre Draft, Boyens helped the Galaxy claim its second consecutive MLS Cup championship on Dec. 1, 2012.
U-14 Head Coach
A native of Whittier, Calif. and a four-year star at UCLA, Ante Razov is one of the greatest goal scorers in MLS history, scoring 114 goals during a 14-year career, retiring as the second leading scorer in MLS. Originally drafted by the Galaxy in the third round of the 1996 MLS College Draft, Razov spent two seasons with LA before joining the Chicago Fire ahead of their inaugural season in 1998. It was in Chicago that Razov established his lofty credentials, helping the club win the 1998 MLS Cup and three U.S. Open Cup titles while becoming the Fire’s all-time leader in goals. Razov, who also spent time with the Columbus Crew, MetroStars and Chivas USA in addition to a stint in Spain with Racing de Ferrol, was capped 25 times by the U.S. National Team, scoring six goals.
U-14 and U-16 Assistant Coach
An assistant coach on the Galaxy’s U-14 and U-16 teams, Ian Sarachan is the son of longtime MLS and U.S. Men’s National Team coach Dave Sarachan. A graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago, Sarachan helped the Flames reach the Elite Eight of 2007 NCAA Division 1 Men’s Soccer Tournament. After college, he joined the prestigious Wasserman Media Group as an agent to learn the business side of the game. This is his first season as a coach.
U-13 Head Coach
Head coach of the LA Academy’s U-12 team in Orange County, Braeden Cloutier is a former professional soccer player with more than 15 years of experience. A native of Wichita, Kansas, Cloutier began his professional career in 1992 at 17 with Germany’s Hamburg SV. He also played for the New York MetroStars, San Jose Clash and the New England Revolution during a six-year stint in MLS and the San Diego Sockers, Wichita Wings and Cleveland Force of the Major Indoor Soccer League. Cloutier, who currently holds a “B” coaching license from U.S. Soccer, spent seven years coaching at the West Coast Futbol Club in Orange County after retiring from soccer.
U-12 Head Coach
A coach on the LA Galaxy Academy’s U-12 team, Ted Eck is a former professional soccer player who helped the U.S. National Team win the inaugural 1991 CONCACAF Gold Cup. A native of Springfield, Ill., Eck began his professional career in 1998 with the Kansas City Comets of the Major Indoor Soccer League but also played professionally in Canada and the United States for the Ottawa Intrepid, Toronto Blizzard, Colorado Foxes and Dallas Burn. Eck, who currently holds an “A” coaching license from U.S. Soccer, began his coaching career in 2001 as Director of the Maui United Soccer club. Along with helping the U.S. capture the Gold Cup in 1991, Eck also won the 1992 APSL title with the Colorado Foxes and 1997 U.S. Open Cup title with the Dallas Burn.
U-12 and U-13 Technical Director
One of the most recognizable names in the history of Salvadoran soccer, Mauricio Cienfuegos is a Galaxy legend and former captain of both club and country. A seven-time MLS All-Star and three-time selection for the MLS Best XI in his eight season with the Galaxy, Cienfuegos led the club to the 2000 CONCACAF Champions Cup, the 2001 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and the 2002 MLS Cup. In 206 regular season appearances for the Galaxy, Cienfuegos scored 35 goals and added 80 assists, which are the second most in club history while also establishing himself as one of the top playoff performers in club history, helping LA reach MLS Cup in 1996, 1999, 2001 and 2002 before retiring following the 2003 season. A native of San Salvador, Cienfuegos holds a USSF “A” coaching license and has experience as a head coach at the professional level, coaching Nejapa Futbol Club in El Salvador’s First Division in 2008.
A native of Rosario, Argentina Ruben Messina came to the United States in 1980 and began playing in the Los Angeles Great League for the United States Yugoslavian team. Messina was part of various state champion and national championship teams such as Atletico Latino, Maccabi, and Atletico Guadalajara.
After a successful career of playing soccer, Messina began coaching at the Batata Soccer Academy and later served for five years as director of coaches and founder of player development program for the Lancaster Rattlers Soccer Club.
Some other academies and clubs Messina has directed or trained include: AV Heat, AVSC Ambush, AV United, Magic FC, AC Milan, Nino Piazzi Academia International (Argentina), LAFC Chelsea, LA Premiere, and most recently the New York Cosmos Academy. Ruben’s extensive goalkeeper experience and knowledge have brought him to the LA Galaxy Youth Academy as the goalkeeper trainer.
During his four years at Ayala High School, Billy Bizzaro was selected as a first team all league selection three times. After Ayala High School, Bizzaro continued his playing career at Cal State Dominguez Hills from 1995 to 1998. After wrapping up his collegiate soccer career, in 2000, Bizzaro served as the Director of Coaching for the Stampede Soccer Club, growing the club from two teams to more than forty by 2006.
After transforming and growing the Stampede Soccer Club, Bizzaro became Director of Legends FC, where he spent three years directing a club with Gold and Premier level teams of every age. In 2010, as Youth Director of the Cosmos Academy West, Bizzaro pushed the academy to the #3 ranked academy in the nation and also coached both the U-11 and U-13 teams.
In addition to having coached several successful squads, Bizzaro has held soccer clinics for children in Germany, Turkey, Norway, and England. Bizzaro’s accomplishments as a Director and Coach in youth soccer have brought him to the LA Galaxy Youth Academy as the U-13 Head Coach.
Camps and Clinics Coordinator
Gordon Kljestan was born and raised in Huntington Beach, CA and started playing soccer at the age of four. Kljestan played college soccer at Seton Hall University in South Orange, NJ where he graduated with a degree in Sports Management. During his college years, Kljestan also played three seasons for Orange County Blue Star of the USL Premier Development League.
Kljestan was drafted by the Los Angeles Galaxy with the 10th overall pick in the first round of the 2007 MLS Supplemental Draft. He started in six games for the Galaxy reserve team, logging 513 minutes. In 2008 he signed with the New York Red Bulls. He played in his first match for the New York in a friendly against Chivas Guadalajara, and made his full professional debut for the Red Bulls that summer. He also played with the Cleveland City Stars in 2009 and FC Tampa Bay 2010.
Kljestan retired from professional soccer in January 2011 and took a coaching role with the LA Galaxy Youth Academy. In 2012 he took over the programming department of the LA Galaxy, and currently runs all camps and clinic programs. Kljestan currently holds his USSF B coaching license.
Supervisor Camps, Clinics, and Fan Development
Born in Conyers, Georgia, Clint Mathis began his stellar soccer career at the University of South Carolina. Mathis was drafted sixth overall by the Los Angeles Galaxy in the first round of the 1998 MLS Draft. After two and a half years with Los Angeles, Mathis was awarded to the MetroStars in the dispersal draft. At the MetroStars Mathis set an MLS record by scoring 5 goals in a single match, including the year’s eventual Goal of the Year. Mathis left the MetroStars to sign with Hannover 96 of the German Bundesliga. In 2005 he returned to the MLS, playing for Real Salt Lake, Colorado Rapids, and the NY Red Bulls. In January 2008, during the European transfer window he left the Galaxy, signing with Ergotelis in Greece. In 2009 Clint returned to the MLS once again, rejoining Real Salt Lake. He played his final professional season for his first pro club the LA Galaxy. During Mathis' impressive club career he made 283 appearances, scoring 67 goals.
During his career, Mathis appeared for the US National Team 46 times, scoring 12 goals. One of those goals came in the 2002 World Cup vs South Korea. Also in 2002 Mathis became the first ever male soccer player to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Mathis remains one of the best soccer players the United States has ever produced.
Academy Head Athletic Trainer
Academy Strength and Conditioning Coach