LA Galaxy product Haji Wright is fresh off his five goal Golden Boot performance helping the U.S. Under-17's win the Nike International Friendlies.
Wright, Christian Pulisic, U-17 head coach Richie Williams, and goalkeeper Kevin Silva reacted to the U.S. performance following the Americans' 4-1 victory over Brazil in this video by U.S. Soccer.
Check it out below.
It’s been quite a week for LA Galaxy Academy forward Haji Wright.
The Galaxy Under-16 forward scored two goals during the U.S. 4-1 victory over Brazil to help the Americans win the Nike International Friendlies for a second year in a row. With his two goals against the Brazilians, Wright brought his total to five, taking home the tournament’s Nike Golden Boot.
It’s been quite a run this week for Wright who has started all three games in the tournament against the likes of Portugal, England and Brazil with a brace in each of the final two matches. Wright began the week scoring the lone goal in U.S. 2-1 defeat to Portugal, but then shined in the U.S. victory over England with a pair of second half finishes that helped the Americans win 5-1.
The forward added to his account twice against Brazil as he gave the U.S. the lead in the eighth minute with an unassisted strike off a counter attack. After the South Americans equalized, the U.S. scored twice to take a 3-1 lead before Wright added the final tally with a left-footed finish off a Joe Gallardo cross. While Wright won the Golden Boot, U.S. goalkeeper Kevin Silva won the tournament's Golden Gloves and Christian Pulisic earned the tournament's Most Valuable Player award.
Thoughts on Wright’s performance?
Share them below.
According to ESPN FC's Jeffrey Carisle, Chivas USA is targeting current LA Galaxy assistant coach Curt Onalfo for their head coaching vacancy.
Carisle cites multiple sources stating that Onalfo is Chivas' first choice for the job should he get a full commitment from the Rojiblancos' organization. The ESPN FC writer also notes, however, that Onalfo would stay with the Galaxy if he is unble to get the Chivas USA gig. In addition to his role as assistant, he's also led the Galaxy reserve league team to back to back West Division titles.
The report comes amid another report in the Miami Herald stating that Kenny Arena is returning to the Galaxy from the head coaching job at Florida International University.
Sean Franklin's time with the LA Galaxy has officially come to an end.
The longtime Galaxy right back was selected by D.C. United in Stage One of the 2013 MLS Re-Entry Process while LA passed on making a selection.
Franklin made 160 regular season appearances for the Galaxy during his six-year stint with the club scoring five goals and 20 assists. The two-time MLS Cup champion and 2008 MLS Rookie of the Year also made 18 appearances in the postseason scoring one goal and five assists. Franklin and D.C. United will return to StubHub Center on March 15 to face the Galaxy.
Also selected in the Stage One were Bobby Boswell (D.C. United), Marc Burch (Colorado Rapids), Corben Bone (Philadelphia Union), and Steve Zakuani (Portland Timbers).
A new chapter, path, and journey starts today. Lookin forward to the future. I'll never forget where I came from, LA will always be my home!
— Sean Franklin (@SFranklin5) December 12, 2013
We discussed the recently retired Pablo Mastroeni’s career in part one of my Q&A with the veteran midfielder, but in part two, we look at his life after soccer and what he’ll be planning to do next as he looks to move on from the game that he's played for decades.
Read it below.
LAGI: “Going back to Colorado seems to be a natural move here especially with your family being unable to sell your home.”
“The word destiny is appropriate here. I’ve had my house on the market for the last six months and it sold once, then the people backed out and for whatever reason it didn’t sell. I just kept thinking that there was a reason for all this because at some point, you just have to heed the omens. For me, the kids love it, my wife loves it and I love it as well. I just thought that life would take me to different places, but it hasn’t. As long as it doesn’t sell, it looks like we’ll just stay in Colorado and it’s looking more and more like we’re just going to take the house off the market. That way we can settle in here as I go into the next phase of my career as I look to start a soccer school focusing on youth development without having to worry about results on the weekend. It’ll be a way to give back because I’ve had great coaches throughout my career that inspired me and now I want to put my own spin on [the game] to help develop young players in Colorado."
LAGI: “Have you had any conversations with the Colorado Rapids about working for their club academy?"
PM: "We haven’t had any conversations at the moment. I’d like to work with the Colorado Rapids in some capacity, but that’s the competitive side of soccer that says we’re an academy just like the Galaxy and we want to get results on the weekend. My mindset is that we sometimes put so much of a focus on winning at a young age that we miss some steps along the way. I think that we keep talking about how even though American soccer is growing; it’s not a powerhouse in the world. We have the greatest resources in the world, we have the greatest athletes in the world, and my view is that we only lack true player development where the focus is solely on developing players without the distraction of results. I think that kids do enjoy the competition which is great, but you see these soccer schools in Europe where there are many kids who are eight or nine and already destined for first team football. If you walk around the United States, you find maybe one six-year-old or five-year-old who can do that. Now I’m not saying we should train kids at age three, but just to put more focus on player development and supplement what they’re not getting from the clubs due to the focus on winning.”
LAGI: “What is going to be your philosophy for this soccer school?"
PM: "I don’t want to do what has been going on for the last number of years. I think the U.S. Soccer curriculum that Claudio Reyna put together is exceptional, but I want to take from my own experience and travels in order to figure out what we’re not doing [as a country]. If I just followed what everyone else is doing then we’re probably going to get the same results. I want to take the experiences that I learned and put together a different type of curriculum that focuses 100 percent on development and zero on results which I hope can produce more complete and talented soccer players.
"I believe that anything that you do in life that you’re good at becomes eventually much more fun. If you have complete dominion of the ball and are aware of the game, then the game will be that much more fun which will lead to greater success as the player moves into high school and onward. The other part for me is that it is something that you have to do many repetitions, but still keep it fun for the kids. I have a lot to carve out and think about but I really feel that it could be a nice thing for the youth to experience and get a leg up. I think that teaching the ages of six through 15 would be great.”
LAGI: "You've always been a reflective person so have you ever just thought about what the game of soccer has given you -- helping you meet your wife, allowing you to go to two World Cups. It's certainly been a ride."
PM: “I’ve pondered it quite a bit and it’s been so good to me because it kept me out of trouble in high school. I could have been different but I always went to training and it kept me in line. When you think about all that I’ve seen in my wife and kids. Plus, I hadn’t realized it until a couple years ago but my wife’s family and my family were still getting together for barbeques to watch my games so the game of soccer was a way that my extended family was able to stay together. That’s why I want to start this soccer school because kids would enjoy learning about these experiences that I’ve had while also coming to understand that the game of soccer really mimics the lessons that you learn in life.
LAGI: "Lastly, in just a few weeks your old teammates across the league will be returning to training for preseason while Pablo Mastroeni will be picking up his kids from school. What will that be like?"
PM: “I talked to quite a few guys while I was contemplating my retirement and one of them was [D.C. United head coach and former U.S. National Team player] Ben Olsen. He said ‘the best part of retirement is that you don’t have to go into preseason, you don’t have to train on Tuesday for a game on Saturday. You’re going to love your retirement.’ Now coming from a guy that took it as seriously as he did, it really helped drive it home. I need to find my competitive edge in something else and hopefully starting a soccer school will allow me to educate myself and gets my juices flowing. I know that there won’t be any substitute from being under the lights, at an opposing team’s stadium trying to get a result, and I know that I can’t mimic that. For me, it’ll be tough once the season gets going but for as far as preseason, I won’t miss that one bit.”
Heavy Southern California representation in list of 50 seniors invited to 2014 adidas MLS Player Combine
Major League Soccer announced the top 50 college seniors that will participate in 2014 MLS adidas Player Combine in Florida on Wednesday and there is a heavy California presence on the list.
UCLA have two players on the listas forward Victor Chavez and midfielders Victor Munoz were selected to the combine which will take place in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. from Jan. 10-14. Also included are U.C. Irvine midfielder Enrique Cardenas, U.C. Santa Barbara midfielder Kingsley Baiden and Cal Poly forward Mackenzie Pridham.
Five additional players from Southern California were also chosen as University of California, Berkeley's highly touted defender Steve Birnbaum (Irvine, Calif.) and Cal midfielders Alec Sundly (Capistrano Beach, Calif.) and Ryan Neil (Mission Viejo) were chosen to the combine as well as Stanford midfielder J.J. Koval (Camarillo, Calif.) and Akron midfielder Aodhan Quinn (San Diego, Calif.).
The list of college seniors will be supplemented by a selection of underclassmen who earn Generation adidas contracts, international selections and players from the NCAA's lower divisions.
The complete list of players by school is below:
|Reinaldo||Brenes||University of Akron||F||San Jose, Costa Rica|
|Robert||Derschang||University of Akron||D/M||Englewood, Colo.|
|Aodhan||Quinn||University of Akron||M||San Diego, Calif.|
|Eric||Stevenson||University of Akron||M||Columbus, Ohio|
|Steve||Birnbaum||University of California, Berkeley||D||Irving, Calif.|
|Alec||Sundly||University of California, Berkeley||M||Capistrano Beach, Calif.|
|Ryan||Neil||University of California, Berkeley||M||Mission Viejo, Calif.|
|Enrique||Cardenas||University of California, Irvine||F||Coachella, Calif.|
|Victor||Chavez||University of California, Los Angeles||F||Fontana, Calif.|
|Victor||Munoz||University of California, Los Angeles||M||Madrid, Spain|
|Mackenzie||Pridham||California Polytechnic State University||F||Toronto, Ontario|
|Kingsley||Baiden||University of California, Santa Barbara||M||Ajumako, Ghana|
|Tyler||Gibson||University of Charlotte||M||Knoxville, Tenn.|
|Thomas||McNamara||Clemson University||M||West Nyack, N.Y.|
|Pedro||Ribeiro||Coastal Carolina University||M/F||Belo Horizonte, Brazil|
|Kees||Heemskerk||College of Charleston||GK||Zaandam, Netherlands|
|Mamadou||Diouf||University of Connecticut||F||Dakar, Senegal|
|George||Fochive||University of Connecticut||M||Paris, France|
|Zach||Bolden||University of Denver||M/F||Denver, Colo.|
|Daniel||Lovitz||Elon University||M||Wyndmoor, Pa.|
|Joey||Dillon||Georgetown University||D/M||Rochester Hills, Mich.|
|Steve||Neumann||Georgetown University||M/F||New Hope, Pa.|
|Kristopher||Tyrpak||Houston Baptist University||F||Dripping Springs, Texas|
|Jacob||Bushue||Indiana University||D||Champaign, Ill.|
|AJ||Corrado||Indiana University||M||Zionsville, Ind.|
|Nikita||Kotlov||Indiana University||M||Indianapolis, Ind.|
|Harrison||Petts||Indiana University||M||Zionsville, Ind.|
|Jimmy||Ockford||University of Louisville||D||Yardley, Pa.|
|Patrick||Mullins||University of Maryland||F||New Orleans, La.|
|Pete||Caringi||University of Maryland Baltimore County||F||Perry Hall, Md.|
|Kadeem||Dacres||University of Maryland Baltimore County||M||Rosedale, N.Y.|
|Mark||Sherrod||University of Memphis||F||Knoxville, Tenn.|
|Kevin||Cope||Michigan State University||D||Canton, Mich.|
|Michael||Calderon||University of New Mexico||M||San Jose, Costa Rica|
|Michael||Kafari||University of New Mexico||M||Accra, Ghana|
|Kyle||Venter||University of New Mexico||D||Aurora, Colo.|
|Alex||Martinez||North Carolina State University||M/F||Rock Hill, S.C.|
|Fabian||Otte||North Carolina State University||GK||Muenster, Germany|
|Grant||Van de Casteele||University of Notre Dame||D||Plano, Texas|
|Rafael||Diaz||St. John’s University||GK||Rockaway, N.J.|
|Adnan||Gabeljic||Saint Louis University||F||St. Louis, Mo.|
|Alex||Sweetin||Saint Louis University||M||Overland Park, Kan.|
|Ben||Sweat||University of South Florida||D||Palm Harbor, Fla.|
|JJ||Koval||Stanford University||M||Camarillo, Calif.|
|Romena||Bowie||Virginia Commonwealth University||M/F||Saint Mary, Jamaica|
|Luca||Gimenez||Wake Forest University||M/F||Sao Paulo, Brazil|
|Jared||Watts||Wake Forest University||M||Statesville, N.C.|
|Taylor||Peay||University of Washington||D||Salt Lake City, Utah|
|Spencer||Richey||University of Washington||GK||Seattle, Wash.|
|Nick||Hagglund||Xavier University||D||Cincinnati, Ohio|
MLS lost one of their all-time greats on Tuesday as Pablo Mastroeni retired on Tuesday ending his illustrious 16 year playing career.
A hard-charging field general in central midfield, Mastroeni calls full time on a career that saw him suit up for the Miami Fusion, Colorado Rapids and LA Galaxy while making 334 MLS regular season appearances (eighth all-time in league history), playing 27,522 minutes and earning 316 starts (both fifth most all-time). The veteran defensive midfielder was also a fixture on the U.S. National Team for nearly a decade as he made appearances in the 2006 and 2006 FIFA World Cups making a total of five appearances. However, he also played in four CONCACAF Gold Cups—winning in 2005 and 2007 –as well as making an appearance at the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2003.
My lasting memories of Mastroeni stem from the grit that he showcased on the field breaking up opposition attacks and the eloquence that he displayed when answering questions from journalists. A remembrance of Mastroeni’s career is not complete without discussing his confident performance in the U.S. historic 2-0 victory over Mexico in the 2002 FIFA World Cup round of 16 as he befuddled El Tri’s Cuauhtémoc Blanco and his ability to lead the Colorado Rapids to the 2010 MLS Cup.
During his brief time with the Galaxy, it was always interesting to see him impart his advice on the club’s young players of all positions -- like Jack McBean who actually lived with Mastroeni in Manhattan Beach toward the end of the season -- who were eager to learn from a league great.
What’s next for Mastroeni? The tough as nails yet cerebral midfielder could head into coaching in some capacity with the Colorado Rapids. With his family still in Colorado, Mastroeni could spread his extensive knowledge of the game while also staying close to home. The Rapids have stated that they intend to honor Mastroeni for his service to their club at a ceremony during one of their home matches in 2014.
But no matter what Mastroeni decides to do with the next stage of his life, he’ll always be remembered as one of the league’s greats.
Below are some memories from a few others from around the league:
Pablo Mastroeni was someone you wanted on your team both on the field and off because he made it that much more worth it. #legend
— Taylor Twellman (@TaylorTwellman) December 10, 2013
— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) December 10, 2013
Probably nobody in the sport that I respect more than Pab's. What an honor to play next to a legend. My Captain forever... #ThanksPablo
— Drew Moor (@drewmoor) December 10, 2013
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) December 10, 2013
What’s your favorite Pablo Mastroeni memory?
Share them below.
One of the league's all-time greats announced his retirement on Tuesday ending a 16 year career in MLS that ended with a brief stop with the LA Galaxy. Along the way, Mastroeni appeared in two World Cups in 2002 and 2006 while spending his entire career playing between the Miami Fusion, Colorado Rapids and the Galaxy. Mastroeni had been out of contract with MLS and was available for the 2013 MLS Re-Entry Process before announcing his retirement.
“After spending the last 16 years playing in Major League Soccer and with the U.S. National Team, I have decided that this is the appropriate time to retire from the game,” Mastroeni said in a statement. “I am honored to have spent my entire professional club career playing in MLS and I now look forward to watching this league continue to grow as I begin the next stage of my life.”
During his time in MLS, Mastroeni made the MLS All-Star team nine times and currently ranks eighth in league hstory with 334 regular season games played, fifth in all-time games started with 316 while scoring seven goals and 27 over his illustrious career.
“We’d like to congratulate Pablo on his 16-year professional career,” said LA Galaxy General Manager and Head Coach Bruce Arena in a statement. “Pablo is a special player who made every team he was on better. His presence, work ethic and enthusiasm for the game made him a successful player on both the club and National Team level. We wish Pablo well in the next step of his career.”
What is your favorite memory of his career?
Share it below.
LA Galaxy Academy forward Haji Wright scored in the U.S. Under-17's 2-1 defeat to Portugal at the Nike International Friendlies on Monday.
Wright scored in the 13th minute to give the U.S. a lead, but the Europeans quickly answered with a goal in the 27th minute to tie the score. Portugal took the lead for good in stoppage time to defeat the Americans.
The U.S. return to action on Wednesday against England who fell 2-1 to Brazil in their first match.
The LA Galaxy will have four players available for the 2013 MLS Re-Entry Process including 2008 MLS Rookie of the Year Sean Franklin.
The Galaxy declined options on Colin Clark, Laurent Courtois and Sean Franklin while Pablo Mastroeni was out of contract. Franklin made 40 appearances in all competitions for the Galaxy in 2013 with two goals and three assists. Clark, who joined LA in the 2012 Re-Entry process made just 13 appearances much of them at the start of the season while both Mastroeni and Courtois—each acquired in midseason trades—made less than 13 appearances.
Stage One of the Re-Entry Process will take place on Dec. 12 at 12 p.m. PT while Stage Two will take place on Dec. 18 at 12 p.m. PT. Remember that little action typically takes place in Stage One as clubs have to sign a player at their 2013 salary or extend a Bona Fide Offer to that player and teams have until Dec. 11 to negotiate with those players made eligible for the process. Following the first stage, the action typically gets even more heated as teams look to either bring back players or make selections in Stage Two of the process.