LA Galaxy Academy Director Peter Vagenas explains the rationale behind recent roster changes

18 July 5:23 pm

LA Galaxy Academy Director Peter Vagenas explains the rationale behind recent roster changes

By Adam Serrano

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.”