CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy Academy is still two months away from the start of the 2013/2014 U.S. Soccer Developmental Academy season, but they have already been making headlines.
Whether it is the hiring of new academy coach Mike Munoz from the Chivas USA Academy or the creation of an Under-23 squad, LA have made plenty of moves over the last few weeks. But that hasn’t been all as the club has also seen the influx of several players, who were formerly coached by Munoz with Chivas USA.
Six such players—Adonis Amaya, Ryo Fujji, Bradford Jamieson, Malcolm Jones, Axel Mendez, and Jeff Quezada—took part in the Under-23’s match on Tuesday and are expected to be a part of the team’s Under-18 squad in the fall.
In an interview with LA Galaxy Insider, club Academy Director Peter Vagenas explained the influx of new players, which is only possible due to a Development Academy rule that allows teams to add new faces during the month of July.
“There is a period which we are allowed to look at players from different clubs. We have players contacting us nonstop throughout the year asking if they could come and the only time that we can evaluate players not in our academy during the previous year was during this month,” Vagenas said. “We’re in the process of evaluating a number of players that are interested from clubs throughout our 75-mile radius, whose kids truly want to be a part of [the Galaxy Academy].
“At the end, unfortunately, we have to turn kids away because we can’t accommodate everyone just on sheer numbers,” Vagenas added. “We are dedicated to finding the best players and providing a landscape, in which they can, one day realize their dreams of becoming professional Galaxy players.”
Although the makeup of the Galaxy’s academy squads may change due to this month-long evaluation period, Vagenas is confident that by the end, LA will have the best players available for the upcoming season.
“We commit to our players for a year, so once you’re in you’re in. This evaluation process opens up and allows us a chance to look at other players that are interested,” said Vagenas. “As the Galaxy, we literally cannot accommodate the amount of trial requests that come our way. So this month, gives us a chance to look at players that we think have a chance or players that we’ve missed or even players that we’ve seen in games that we think have something.
“There are very few youth players in our area that we don’t know in one regard or the other. We have a pretty good gauge about these players and who is where,” Vagenas added. “That being said, we want to focus on the best of the best, but sometimes kids develop and kids that we didn’t deem good enough previously, all of a sudden have proved us incorrect. It’s not an easy thing because there are a number of limited spots [on the teams], but it is my job to make sure that we get the best players here.”
In the latest edition of "View From The Booth," Joe Tutino and Cobi Jones analyze the LA Galaxy's match against Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
Check it out below...
CARSON, Calif. –LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena addressed the media on Thursday after the club’s penultimate training session ahead of Saturday’s match against Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
Always one to rattle the media, Arena was in rare form on Thursday, so several of his comments should be taken with a bit of sarcasm.
Arena’s quotes are below…
(On whether the LA Galaxy had an agreement with U.S. Soccer to keep Omar Gonzalez through Saturday’s match…)
ARENA: "We don’t discuss those things. Omar will be here Saturday."
(On whether he was unhappy that Gonzalez will miss next week’s game against Colorado…)
ARENA: “We’re happy right now. It’s a wonderful day. We’re not worried about any of that stuff; we’re getting ready to play a game on Saturday.”
(On his impression of the team’s performance on set pieces…)
ARENA: “Not good…We’re not scoring when we have them and we’re giving up goals when the other team has them.”
(On why the team is not successful at set pieces at the moment…)
ARENA: “Who knows? If I knew that then it wouldn’t be happening right? Actually, we’re planning let goals be scored at the end of the game. We’ve worked really hard at it and we’re doing well. This time around, we’re going to try not to let them score.”
(On what the Galaxy aren’t doing on set pieces in particular…)
ARENA: “They’re not doing their jobs. It’s like if [New York Yankees closer] Marino Rivera gave up a run in the bottom of the ninth, you’d probably say that it is because he put the ball in a good spot for the hitter, but maybe the hitter hit it well. Whoever knows this stuff?”
(On whether opposing teams are defending Omar Gonzalez on attacking set pieces differently…)
ARENA: “They’re not.”
(On Juninho’s set pieces…)
ARENA: “They can be better.”
(On whether the club’s struggles on set pieces are due to the absence of David Beckham…)
ARENA: “If you think about the fact that, maybe, he’s one of the best players [at set pieces] in the history of the game, you probably don’t replace that quality the next year…I don’t think that can you approximate anything that Beckham does on free kicks.”
(On whether he hopes to approximate Beckham’s success on free kicks with other players…)
ARENA: “I hope that it is Christmas tomorrow, but it won’t be. There’s certain things in life that you need to understand. And one thing is that if the Miami Heat loses LeBron James, of course they’re going to try to approximate him with the next player, but it ain’t gonna happen. Whether you believe that or not, it’s not going to happen. There’s certain things about the quality of [certain] players that is unique and special and it is not going to be automatic that the next guy can do it with the same efficiency. Those are the facts of life.”
(On whether he considers Juninho to be a good set piece taker…)
ARENA: “He’s not bad.”
(On the status of Robbie Keane…)
ARENA: “He didn't train today. We'll take it day by day, we’ll see.”
Omar Gonzalez excited about the prospect of teaming up with Landon Donovan on the U.S. National Team
CARSON, Calif. – Omar Gonzalez will join up with the U.S. National Team on Sunday following the LA Galaxy’s match against Vancouver Whitecaps FC a day earlier and when he does,he’ll not only be reunited with his international teammates, but also his Galaxy teammate Landon Donovan.
Donovan has excelled with the U.S. during the Gold Cup as he’s tallied two goals and three assists during the tournament.
Gonzalez has played with Donovan in a U.S. shirt once before in an August 2010 friendly against Brazil, which was the 24-year-old center back’s debut appearance for the national team. As he looks ahead to joining up with the national team this weekend, the center back admits that he’s been anxious to partner up with Donovan with the U.S. for some time.
“Seeing Landon out there scoring goals and getting man of the match, it seems that he’s getting back to his old ways which is great to see,” said Gonzalez. “I'm looking forward to stepping on the field with him as a teammate with the national team and that’s something that I've been looking forward to for a long time. We've been teammates here with the Galaxy for my whole career and I think that’ll be an exciting moment when we're together for the national team.”
Omar Gonzalez is bound for the Gold Cup after all.
A day after there was doubt over whether he'd be called by U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, the LA Galaxy announced on Thursday that Gonzalez will join up with the U.S. National Team at the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup following Saturday’s match against Vancouver Whitecaps FC at StubHub Center. With Gonzalez playing on Saturday, he will only join up with the U.S. if they defeat El Salvador in the quarterfinal on Sunday.
Should the U.S. advance all the way to the Gold Cup final, Gonzalez would miss just one game with the Galaxy—their road match against the Colorado Rapids on July 27 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann made four adjustments to his squad as he called in Matt Besler, Gonzalez, Alan Gordon and Eddie Johnson, who will replace Corey Ashe, Herculez Gomez, Oguchi Onyewu and Jack McInerney. Aside from Gonzalez, the rest of Klinsmann’s new inclusions will join up with the U.S. team ahead of their match against El Salvador.
Thoughts on Klinsmann calling up Gonzalez?
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In the latest edition of Galaxy All-Access with Joe Tutino, LA Galaxy head coach and general manager Bruce Arena gave his midseason update on the team while also providing an injury update on forward Robbie Keane.
“He’s day to day. We're hopeful that the injury is going to be one that doesn’t allow him for him to miss any games, but we'll have to wait as we get close to kick off [on Saturday],” Arena told Tutino.
The complete interview is below...
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy will have a tough test on their hands this week as they look to wrangle in red-hot Vancouver Whitecaps FC striker Camilo.
Currently, the league’s leader in goals scored, the Brazilian forward has notched 12 goals this season, which puts him one ahead of Chicago Fire—and former LA Galaxy—forward Mike Magee and Montreal Impact’s Marco Di Vaio. Scoring goals hasn’t been the only part of Camilo’s game this season as the Brazilian has also tallied three assists while spearheading a Whitecaps side that is undefeated in their last six matches—winning five.
“He’s played well. He’s had a good year,” said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena. “Obviously, we have to be very aware where he is at all times. He’s very good on the run of play and on set pieces as well.”
Echoing the sentiments of his head coach, LA center back Omar Gonzalez believes that stopping Camilo is the highest priority for LA’s defense on Saturday.
“Right now, he’s the top scorer in the league,” said Gonzalez. “He’s a very skillful player and we have to keep an eye on him. We need to make sure that we always know where he is and not let him score.”
CARSON, Calif. – Is LA Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez bound for the U.S. National Team’s squad for the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup? Maybe, but maybe not.
Following Tuesday's 1-0 victory over Costa Rica, which completed Group C play, U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has 24 hours to make as many as four changes to his squad and select any of the players, who were placed on his 35-man preliminary roster. One of the potential players who may get the call is Gonzalez, who has become a regular in the U.S. back four this year.
Reporters asked Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena if he was aware of an impending call for Gonzalez and the LA boss admitted that “he hasn’t been called up.”
When the same question was posed to Gonzalez, he too seemed to believe that he would not earn the call.
“I haven’t heard anything lately. [LA Galaxy club President] Chris Klein has told me that he doesn’t think that they’re going to call me in. As of right now, I’m here with the Galaxy,” said Gonzalez.” I wish the U.S. all the best going forward, I want them to win the tournament, and [their eight-game winning] streak alive.”
The official announcement of the four changes to the squad is expected on Thursday morning.
CARSON, Calif. –The LA Galaxy embarked upon a new venture on Tuesday, with the creation of an Under-23 side which the club hopes will give minutes to their top current Academy products and Homegrown eligible college players.
The U-23’s played the first game of their existence on Tuesday against Shenfield, a team from Essex in England, and easily overpowered the side with a 4-0 win.
To date, the team is not part of any organized league, but will play until the end of Summer. When asked about the new team, Technical Director Jovan Kirovski, who has been spearheading the initiative, explained the rationale behind it.
“We’re looking for a place we can evaluate where our Homegrown college kids and have a training environment for them in the offseason,” Kirovski told LA Galaxy Insider. “It’s something where we’re looking for the possibilities of being a USL team. That means that we could sign kids earlier, it should serve as a stepping stone to our first team.
“We can also have our young academy kids go through there,” Kirovski added. “We had some of our U-18’s who played last year play [on Tuesday] as well as some of the U-16’s, we also had college kids, so it’s a chance to for us to keep track of them. It’s great for these young kids to have a place to play and maybe, one day, play in our first team.”
The age range of the team is from 15 to 21 and some of the players that took part on Tuesday included: current academy standout Jaime Villarreal as well as academy graduate Javan Torre. Also participating were UCLA midfielder Grady Howe and Under-18 forward Steve Martinez, who each scored a goal. Joining the team were new faces Adonis Amaya, Ryo Fujji, Bradford Jamieson, Malcolm Jones, and Jeff Quezada.
Landon Donovan earned his 52nd assist for the U.S. National Team on Brek Shea's goal as the U.S. defeated Costa Rica 1-0 in the final match in Group C.
Shea scored in 82nd minute off a lovely pass from Donovan to seal the victory and the group for the U.S.
Following the match, U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann told reporters that he is planning to make some changes to his squad and is already in contact with clubs about the release of players. Klinsmann has 24 hours to select any player that was placed on the 35-man preliminary roster -- which includes Omar Gonzalez -- ahead the Americans' quarterfinal match up against El Salvador at MT&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Md. on Sunday.
As for what Gonzalez believes? He told reporters following Tuesday's training session that he had not heard anything from Klinsmann yet, but he could "possibly" be headed for U.S. duty.
Do you expect Gonzalez to go join the U.S.?
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