CARSON, Calif. – There was a time when youth players in the U.S. turned to the U.S. U-17 Residency program to develop the best and brightest, but according to LA Galaxy Technical Director Jovan Kirovski, those days may be coming to a close.
On Wednesday, the club announced the creation of a USL PRO team LA Galaxy II which will serve as yet another path to develop young players for LA’s first team. During my Q&A with Kirovski – who was one of the spearheads of the USL PRO project — for LAGalaxy.com, the Technical Director was asked about whether the Galaxy Academy could one day surpass the development that players receive at residency.
“We’re at that stage now. We feel like we have quality coaches who are just as good if not better than [Bradenton], we have a USL team that no one has. With young kids, it’s better to be at home and be close to your family. When I left to go to Europe, I had nothing like this,” Kirovski told LA Galaxy Insider. “Now we have coaches in place, we have teams in place, and just a place to develop young local kids to be close to their family. It’s an ideal set up and way different than before. Back then, going to Europe made sense, but now, I’m not so sure.”
And Kirovski was quick to note that it is the league’s development that is the reason that players of all age are choosing to stay in the U.S. rather than head to Europe.
“We’re moving forward,” said Kirovski. “If you look at how far we’ve come in the last 10 years in terms of the fan support in places like Seattle, Portland and L.A., the new clubs coming in, the resources put into Academies league wide and companies like AEG investing in the USL PRO team and the Academy. We’re moving forward. It’s still going to take time, but we’re going in the right direction.”
CARSON, Calif. -- During Friday's U.S. National Team training session, LA Galaxy videographer Paolo Ferrari stopped by and took a number of great photos.
Check them out below.
CARSON, Calif. – Count LA Galaxy forward Landon Donovan among those praising Toronto FC’s reported capture of star U.S. National Team midfielder Michael Bradley.
Although the deal has not yet been announced by MLS or Toronto FC, the widely reported transfer was confirmed by Bradley’s Italian club A.S. Roma on Thursday. Bradley is the latest U.S. National Team standout to return to MLS or elect to stay in the league and the highest profile returnee since Seattle Sounders FC’s signing of Clint Dempsey in August.
When asked about Bradley’s reported move, Donovan admitted that the return of the 26-year-old was “great” for Toronto FC, MLS and his national team teammate.
“I think that it’s a testament to our league that people want to come back and play here particularly six months before a World Cup,” said Donovan ahead of U.S. National Team training on Thursday.” It makes a strong statement, obviously, [Tim Leiweke] made it clear to him that it was something that he wanted, and Mike is a smart guy, I’m sure that he’s thought about this a lot and it’s something that he wants to do so I think that it is great.”
If any U.S. National Team player is familiar with Bradley’s current situation, it would be Donovan who made a high-profile return to MLS from Germany’s Bayer Leverkusen in 2005 to join the Los Angeles Galaxy. Donovan then opted to extend his stay in MLS last summer when he inked a multi-year deal to stay with the Galaxy.
Although the moves of players like Bradley and Dempsey may be criticized, Donovan attests that the two players are simply “following their dreams” in a much improved MLS than the one the Galaxy forward returned to in 2005.
“The league is a lot better. The league is different because financially more stable, but in all ways, coaching is better, youth development is better, there’s more media, there’s more attention, everything is different and constantly changing,” said Donovan. “We always say that [MLS] is not where we want it to be, but when guys like Michael and Clint make decisions like that, when [Omar Gonzalez], Matt Besler, Graham Zusi make the decision to stay here when they could have gone abroad, it makes a big statement.
“The way that you make the league better is by having better players and certainly in the last six months, it has gotten two of our best [American] players back in the league.”
What do you think about the move?
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The U.S. National Team opened their annual January camp on Tuesday and U.S. Soccer has provided a brief video update with interviews with head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, Mike Magee, Graham Zusi, and Matt Besler
Check it out below.
CARSON, Calif. – The U.S. National Team has opened their annual January camp at StubHub Center, but as preparations begin for their match against Korea Republic on Feb. 1, more details are emerging of the camp’s unique schedule.
The U.S. will train at StubHub Center for a total of 13 days before departing for Brazil where they will train at the facility of Sao Paulo FC from Jan. 13-25 where they will play a series of closed-door scrimmages against Sao Paulo’s first team. U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann is expected to take 23 players to Brazil, but could take more depending on the players’ fitness levels. Any player that does not travel to South America is expected to continue training in Carson prior to the Feb. 1 match.
“We'll try things out there. We want to get to know the people. We want to build relationships, if it's at the hotel, at the training ground. We want to get a feel for how things work there – for the Brazilian lifestyle, in a certain way – and this is a good opportunity,” Klinsmann told reporters on Tuesday. “So we connected it because no other [World Cup] team really has that January camp happening. It's because of the schedule that MLS has gives us that opportunity.”
Sporting Kansas City midfielder Graham Zusi noted on Tuesday that the competition between players for a spot on plane to Brazil “makes it all real” for all players involved in the January camp, a sentiment that was echoed by LA Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez.
“I don’t know if I’m going to Brazil so I have to keep on working hard and not give Jurgen a reason to say no to me,” said Gonzalez. “I have to keep on working hard and everyone is in the same boat here because no one is penciled in. It’ll help everyone work that much harder and increase everyone’s game.”
Former LA Galaxy defender Hong Myung Bo names his Korea Republic squad for friendlies against Mexico and U.S.
When the U.S. National Team take on Korea Republic on Feburary 1, Landon Donovan and Omar Gonzalez won't be the only connections between the two teams.
Former LA Galaxy defender and Korea Republic head coach Hong Myung-Bo announced his Korea Republic squad for their upcoming friendlies against Mexico on Jan. 29 in San Antonio and against the U.S. on Feb. 1 at StubHub Center. The squad is entirely made up of Asian-based players.
The winner of the Bronze Ball at the 2002 FIFA World Cup with Korea, Bo made 38 appearances for the Galaxy in two years with the club from 2003 to 2004, tallying two assists.
— Raza Deportiva (@razaespn) January 2, 2014
LA Galaxy Academy product Brian Iloski was among the 36 players called by U.S. Under-20 head coach Tab Ramos’ for the upcoming training camp in Lakewood Ranch, Florida.
The training camp will run from Jan. 3-12 and serve as preparation ahead of the 2015 Under-20 World Cup in New Zealand.
Iloski, who will be a sophomore at UCLA next fall, saw little action with the Bruins in his first season in Westwood making just nine appearances scoring one goal and an assist while missing much of the end of the season with an injury. During the2012-13 U.S. Soccer Developmental Academy season, Iloski made 10 appearances for the Galaxy Under-18’s tallying a single goal.
The complete roster is below.
GOALKEEPERS (4): Jeff Caldwell (N.C. Fusion; Todd, N.C.), Santiago Castaño (New York Red Bulls; Union City, N.J.), Ethan Horvath (Molde FK; Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Zack Steffen (Maryland, Philadelphia Union Academy; Downington, Pa.)
DEFENDERS (10): Jordan Allen (Real Salt Lake; Rochester, N.Y.), Michael Amick (UCLA; Sunnyvale, Calif.), Sulaiman Dainkeh (Maryland, D.C. United Academy; Reston, Va.), Conor Donovan (Capital Area RailHawks Academy; Fuquay Varina, N.C.), Trevor Haberkorn (Furman; Roanoke, Texas), Grant Lillard (Chicago Fire Academy; Hinsdale, Ill.), Jalen Markey (North Carolina, Seattle Sounders Academy; Renton, Wash.), Matt Miazga (New York Red Bulls; Clifton, N.J.), Shaquell Moore (IMG Academy; Powder Springs, Ga.), John Requejo Jr. (Real So Cal; Carpinteria, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS (14): Corey Baird (Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy; Escondido, Calif.), Arun Basuljevic (New York Red Bulls Academy; Mahopac, N.Y.), Marco Delgado (Chivas USA; Glendora, Calif.), Luis Felipe (Cruzeiro Esporte Clube; Ouro Branco, Minas Gerais), Ian Harkes (Wake Forest, D.C. United Academy; Fairfax, Va.), Jacori Hayes (Wake Forest; Bowie, Md.), Brian Iloski (UCLA, LA Galaxy Academy; Escondido, Calif.), Eric Lickert (SC Freiburg; Glotteral, Germany), Saalih Muhammad (Dinamo GNK), Adam Najem (Akron, New York Red Bulls Academy; Clifton, N.J.), Cristian Roldan (Washington; Pico Rivera, Calif.), Herbert Robinson (Club Santos Laguna; Monclova, Coahuila), Joel Sonora (Boca Juniors; Buenos Aires, Argentina), Omar Thompson (Unattached; Miami, Fla.)
FORWARDS (8): Andrew Brody (Louisville, Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy; Orlando, Fla.), Benji Lopez (Real Salt Lake; San Diego, Calif.), Ricardo Lopez-Espin (Shattuck-St Mary’s; Miami, Fla.), Amando Moreno (New York Red Bulls; Morganville, N.J.), Alex Muyl (Georgetown, New York Red Bulls Academy; New York, N.Y.), Zach Pfeffer (Philadelphia Union; Dresher, Pa.), Rubio Rubin (Unattached; Beaverton, Ore.), Travis Wannemuehler (NC State; Evansville, Ind.)
LA Galaxy Academy products Malcolm Jones and Jorge Ruiz were named to upcoming U.S. Under-18 camp in Florida by head coach Javier Perez on Wednesday.
Ruiz is one of the Galaxy Academy’s leading scorers with 10 goals in 12 games this season for the U-16’s while Jones, a defender, has made nine appearances with a single goal. The camp runs from Jan. 4-11 in Lakewood Ranch, Florida.
The camp has a distinct California flavor with the two Galaxy Academy players being among five Californians to be called up to camp, the highest number of any state.
The complete roster is below.
— LA Galaxy Academy (@LAGalaxyAcademy) January 1, 2014
The LA Galaxy announced their first match of their 2014 preseason schedule on Monday as they will face Armenian champions FC Shirak at StubHub Center on Feb. 8 at 6 pm.
Shirak are currently in second place in the Armenian Premier League and are led by Ivorian midfielder Serge Debl who is currently tied for the APL lead in goals with nine tallies. The club from Gyumri, Armenia -- the second largest city in the Eurasian country -- have won the APL three times, the Armenian Cup once and the Armenian SuperCup four times. The preseason match is the first time that the Galaxy will host a club from the Armenian Premier League.
LA are expected to open the preseason in mid-to-late January and the match is undoubtedly the first in preseason slate that will be designed to prepare the Galaxy for the start of the 2014 MLS regular season and their 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal match against Club Tijuana.
Tickets for the match will go on sale on Jan. 14 at lagalaxy.com or by calling 1-877-3GALAXY.
In what might be my favorite holiday video this year, Juninho offers his own special Happy Holidays message after firing a free kick in front of a wall made of Christmas trees.
Check it out below.