Photo by Robert Mora/LA Galaxy
CARSON, Calif. -- It's impossible not to notice LA Galaxy Under-18 forward Justin Dhillon on the soccer field.
The 17-year-old Dhillon stands an imposing 6-foot-3 and 175 pounds and has become well-known throughout the youth soccer level for his mix of size, speed and ball skills. In four Development Academy matches this season, Dhillon is the second leading goal scorer on the team -- behind Jack McBean who has four -- including one open the scoring of Sunday's 3-1 victory over the Chivas USA U-18s. Throughout Dhillon's youth career, the forward has racked up honors including being placed on the U.S. Soccer Development Academy First XI for 2010-2011 season while the wide forward from Rancho Santa Margarita was at the Galaxy's Under-16 level.
According to Top Drawer Soccer, Dhillon has committed Cal Poly in the fall and will begin his college career in San Luis Obispo, but Galaxy U-18 head coach Eddie Soto believes that if he continues his development, the forward could grow to even greater heights.
"Justin is such a dynamic player," said Soto. "With his physical attributes, with his size and how good is with his feet. I think that the biggest challenge that he needs to overcome is his consistency. When he’s on, the kid is very special and it’s one thing that we’re working on in training is demand more from him in training every day. I think that will carry over when he plays…It’s a process and for him, it’s day by day."
Below Dhillon describes himself as a player and his attributes...
DHILLON: "I play outside wing [forward] and my strength is that I'm fast and that I'm able to dribble past people a lot. The last couple of years, I've been a goalscorer, scoring quite a few goals."
(On using his size as an outside forward...)
DHILLON: "When people see me and I say that I'm a forwawrd, they always say, 'oh, he's a center forward and a target guy," but they always end up putting me back on the wing again because that's my best spot and where I grew up playing."
(On his future...)
DHILLON: "We'll see what happens in the future. I've been playing well right now, but hopefully, I'll be in the big stadium one day...college is always an option, but ultimately my dream is to be a professional."
Photo by Robert Mora/LA Galaxy
CARSON, Calif. – Raul Mendiola is a unique talent, but the 18-year-old midfield believes that he’s still got a ways to go in his development.
On Sunday, Mendiola went 90 minutes during the LA Galaxy Under-18’s 3-1 victory over the Chivas USA Under-18’s. Throughout the match, Mendiola was dangerous, playing the role of playmaker for the squad and helping to set up a number of dangerous scoring chances in the victory over Chivas. However, the Academy isn't the only place for Mendiola to hone his skills as the 18-year-old from San Bernardino is a regular sight at Galaxy first team training sessions and made a total of seven appearances for LA's Reserve League squad this season. The teenager;s development has excited many, including Galaxy U-18 head coach Eddie Soto, but the Galaxy youth coach admits that Mendiola remains a work in progress.
"He’s one of my favorite players and I’ve known him since he was a little kid. To coach him last year and I’m excited to be part of his development," Soto told LA Galaxy Insider last Sunday. "He’s in a different position than the other kids because he’s scratching the surface with the first team. He’s got a lot of learning to do so Raul is a player is a player that needs to get better at the day to day stuff. He’s got the tools and he’s got the ability that’s so different from what were used to seeing and we just have to make him more into a complete player."
Below Mendiola discusses the differences to playing with the Academy and training with the Reserves as well as his relationship with Soto...
MENDIOLA: “It’s different, it is way different with the Reserves, I’ve been getting 15 or 20 minutes so I just go in to try and help the team get three points, that’s all I focus on. When I come [to the Academy], I have to work a little more to show that I can be in the first team as well. I have a bigger responsibility when I’m [with the U-18s], but all info goes to the first team so I try to work on [my game]. But I just worry on getting three points all the time.”
(On his relationship with Soto…)
MENDIOLA: “It’s good. I remember that last year, I had a little bit problem so he came up to me to see what was going on so that he could help me focus on soccer because you have to be really good mentally. But I have a really good relationship with Eddie.”
(On what Soto tells him to improve…)
MENDIOLA: “Before the game, Eddie always tells me to defend, defend, that’s my biggest job. They also tell me with the first team to defend, defend because that’s what wins you games. Before the game, I just think about what Eddie tells me so that’s all that I worry about.”
(On what he believes that he needs to improve upon…)
MENDIOLA: “A little bit of everything, I’m still trying to get there with fitness, defending and attacking. Everything. You need to get better every day so day by day; we’ll see how it goes.”
CARSON, Calif. – In an interview with Sirus XM FC, LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena revealed that Landon Donovan is suffering from a bone bruise and will likely be available for selection for either Sunday's match against the San Jose Earthquakes or the club's season finale against the Seattle Sounders on Oct. 28.
Questions have surrounded Donovan since the Galaxy captain suffered the bone bruise during the match against Real Salt Lake two weeks ago that ultimately caused him to withdraw from International duty with the U.S. National Team.
Donovan was not on the training ground during the portion of Monday’s training session open for media availability, but Arena told reporters that the Galaxy captain was working in the gym during the club’s training session. The Galaxy boss went on to state that no decision had been made on Donovan’s status or left back Todd Dunivant, stating “it’s Monday, we’re playing on Sunday.”
When asked if the club had any long term worries about the status of Donovan, Arena quipped.
“Short term all the time with Landon, our worries are always short term with Landon,” said the Galaxy head coach. “One day to the next.”
Any worries over Robbie Keane's Achilles have been eased as the Irish forward has been placed in the starting XI for Ireland's World Cup Qualifier against the Faroe Islands, the Irish federation announced on Monday.
An Achilles injury prevented Keane playing in Ireland's 6-0 defeat to Germany last Friday, but Irish boss Giovanni Trapattoni has deemed the Ireland captain fit to participate.
The Ireland lineup for the Faroe Islands is below...
Kieren Westwood; Seamus Coleman, John O'Shea, Darren O'Dea, Marc Wilson; Robbie Brady, Keith Andrews, James McCarthy, Aiden McGeady; Robbie Keane, Jonathan Walters.
Photo by Robert Mora/LA Galaxy
CARSON, Calif. -- Whether it's with the LA Galaxy Academy, Reserve League squad or first team, Oscar Sorto has shown his skills at the young age of 18.
Sorto started and went a full 90 minutes during the LA Galaxy Under-18's 3-1 victory over the Chivas USA Under-18's on Sunday.
The Academy victory comes days after Sorto went 22 minutes in the Galaxy's 2-0 Reserve League victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps last Friday, playing primarily at right back. His stint against Vancouver was Sorto's sixth of the year with LA's Reserve Squad. His integration into the first team aside, it has been a whirlwind year for Sorto, who told LA Galaxy Insider last month that he was in conversations with the club for a Homegrown deal, just weeks after traveling to Sweden to train with Hammarby. With Sorto racking up experience with the first team, Galaxy U-18 head coach Eddie Soto is full of praise for the youngster from South Central Los Angeles.
“He’s very honest and a mature player. He’s doing really well with the first team and today was no exception,” said Soto on Sunday after LA’s victory over Chivas. “He’s probably one of the most consistent players that I've ever coached in all my years. He did well today, maybe a little more from him on the ball, but you're going to expect more with guys like that.”
Below Sorto discusses how his life with the Academy has changed now that he is training regularly with the first team.
(On playing with Academy after training with first team…)
SORTO: “It’s pretty hard, trying to communicate with the younger players because with the first team and the reserves, we have a different style of playing that is more offensive, but with the Academy, it’s more about possession.”
(On being a leader with the U-18s…)
SORTO: “I try to show the rest of players that I’m here for them to be their leader. For that, I have to work hard, both for me and for the team to show them that anyone can make it if you try.”
(On what can be learned from playing in the SuperClasico…)
SORTO: “You can learn a lot because at the next level, you're going to need to be physical all the time. I think that playing against Chivas is a good challenge for us.”
Photo by Robert Mora/LA Galaxy
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy Academy is loaded with a number of talented prospects, but this Developmental Academy season, the Galaxy have added another to their ranks-- established youth prospect Paul Arriola.
Formerly of Temecula-based youth club Arsenal (the club of players like Raul Mendiola, Hector Jimenez and U.S. national team defender Carlos Bocanegra), Arriola made his Development Academy debut for the Galaxy Under-18's in their 3-1 victory over Chivas USA in the SuperClasiquito on Sunday. Throughout the match, the 5-foot-7 forward was a thorn in the Rojiblancos' side, creating several scoring chances, but was ultimately unable to finish on his own.
Arriola brings an impressive pedigree to the Galaxy, having spent years at Arsenal while also appearing on the United States' squad for the 2011 Under-17 World Cup. With a player Arriola joining the squad, Under-18 coach Eddie Soto admitted that the Galaxy had become "the place to be" among the Academies in Southern California.
“It should be. LA Galaxy is the premier team. We obviously want to have the best players and create the best environment for future Galaxy players with the first team. We take a lot of pride with what we do here and from what we do on and off the field so hopefully, we can produce more players to join the first team."
Below Arriola discusses the SuperClasiquito and his integration into the Galaxy Academy...
ARRIOLA: “It’s a big game so it’s always interesting to play against good players as well as former national team players and current national team players as well. And being able to play to play with the pros and because this is a Clasico, you have to prepare well and be mentally good. You learn to play quick and play for your team.”
(On describing himself as a player...)
ARRIOLA: "I’m not the biggest man, but I’m very quick and I wouldn’t say that I’m the best technically, but I’m very technical. A lot of Americans are starting to be more technical and we’re starting to be more comfortable on the ball. I’m a wide forward, I like to use my speed and be able to whip crosses in and get behind the defense and get opportunities.”
(On his professional aspirations...)
ARRIOLA: "I’d love to go professional. That’s been my dream since I was little and that’s the thing that I want to push for whether it’s before college or after a year of college or four years of college. Eventually, that’s my goal and whether it happens before or after, I’m still going to push for it no matter what."
(On his relationship with the UCLA coaches...)
ARRIOLA: "There are always asking about me and asking if I need anything and I always call them up to tell how I’m doing. We have a great relationship."
(On his future with the U.S. set-up...)
ARRIOLA: "I’ve been in the national team since I first started. I was in the Under-14 at 13 years old and I’ve been to the Under-17 World Cup, I lived in Residency. I’m currently with the Under-18 national team and we have a camp in Carson in November so I’m currently with them. I’d love to keep going as far as I can, but I just have to push myself and get myself in the right environment."
(On returning to full fitness after suffering an injury during an Under-18 tournament in Holland...)
ARRIOLA: "I’m feeling close. This is my first game since coming back from Holland, it was a good one. Being able to finish my chances at the very end is very important. It’s very important to finish those. Obviously, I’m not there yet, but it’s more mental now."
(If the friendships that he has on the team were the reason that he joined the Galaxy Academy...)
ARRIOLA: "Yes. They’re really great guys and getting the chance to interact with the first team and the reserves is good. Obviously, the Galaxy are one of the best programs in the united states as far as MLS teams are concerned."
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy Academy sides split a pair of results on Sunday afternoon at fields surrounding The Home Depot Center.
The LA Galaxy Under-18s defeated the Chivas USA Under-18’s 3-1 in the first game of the morning. The match was a physical affair as Justin Dhillon opened the scoring for the Galaxy before Daniel Moreno leveled it for Chivas. LA would take the lead late in the first half when Drew Murphy put the Galaxy up just before half time. LA continued to dominate in the second half and Jack McBean would add an insurance goal just seconds before full time.
Meanwhile, in the second match, the Galaxy Under-16’s fell 2-0 to their Chivas counterparts. The young Rojiblancos controlled wide stretches of the match and opened the scoring when Alejandro Vergara fired a pinpoint cross to Caleb Calvert. Chivas would add a second in the closing stages of the match as Daniel Crisostomo sealed the win.
Below are general thoughts from U-18 head coach Eddie Soto and U-16 Craig Harrington on the match.
SOTO: “We were getting a feel for each other and it was a little bit chippy, but I felt in the second half, we kind of took control of the rhythm of the game and obviously, did really well with our chances. Defensively, I thought that we were superb in the second half. Ivan Vasquez came in at centerback and we had Oscar Sorto playing right back and the two of them, plus the other two they did a great job."
HARRINGTON: "Obviously, losing to your neighbors isn’t the best thing, but we have to keep perspective because this is such a young group. I spoke to them [after the game] and said there are 15 guys that by next year…will be playing as older players with more expectations. Individually, I thought they responded very well at halftime and I thought the way that they started the game was the best that they’ve started all year. In the final third right now is where this group is struggling as a team. But collectively, the skill and talent out here is amazing."
Robbie Keane has been deemed fit to travel to Ireland's World Cup Qualifier against the Faroe Islands on Tuesday, the Irish Federation said in a statement on Sunday morning.
Ireland are currently in third place in UEFA World Cup Qualifying group C, three points behind Christian Wilhelmsson's Sweden.
CARSON, Calif. -- On Sunday morning, the LA Galaxy and Chivas USA Academies will renew their hostilities in the SuperClasiquito.
The morning will begin with the Galaxy Under-18's taking on the Chivas USA Under-18's at 10:00 a.m.. at the Home Depot Center's University Field #2 before the U-16's face off against one another at 12:30 p.m.. Both U-18 clubs have enjoyed success this season as the two rivals are currently tied for second place in the U.S.. Soccer Development Academy Southwest Division with three points apiece. Meanwhile, the season has been a bit more difficult for both of the U-16s teams as the two both are currently in sixth (LA) and seventh (Chivas) place respectively in the USSDA's Southwest Division.
Below Galaxy U-18 Jack McBean discusses the importance of facing off against their cross-hall rivals.
MCBEAN: "It's a big game for us. We know that Chivas is a really good team as well and they've gotten some good results this season so far. This game will be the first real test for our team and see what we're made of."
Courtesy of LAGalaxy.com, highlights of Friday's LA Galaxy Reserve League victory.