Blog

11 December 6:32 pm

LA Galaxy Academy Forward Haji Wright continued his torrid scoring pace with the U.S. Under-17 with two goals in the U.S. Under-17’s 5-1 victory over England at the Nike International Friendlies in Florida.

Wright bagged two goals in the victory, but C.F. Monterrey Academy product Joe Gallardo was the hero with a hat trick against the English. Although Wright was one of the stars of the match, he was stretched off the field in the closing minutes after a hard challenge from an England defender.  The U.S. will face Brazil – who tied Portugal 1-1 earlier on Wednesday—in the final match on Dec. 13 at 2 p.m. PT.

Wright wasn't the only success for the LA Galaxy Academy as LA’s Under-18’s defeated New Jersey’s Player Development Academy 2-0 with goals by Jaime Villarreal and Christian Chavez.  The U-18's return to action on Dec. 12 against the FC Dallas Academy. Meanwhile, the LA Under-16's begin their participation in the tournament on Dec. 12 with a match against the Carolina RailHawks Academy. 

Highlights of the U.S. victory over England are below. 

11 December 3:49 pm

The LA Galaxy Academy lost one of it's coaches on Wednesday as Under-14 head coach Greg Vanney left the position to be the Academy Director and Assistant General Manager with Toronto FC. 

Vanney served as LA's U-14 head coach and Technical Director of LA Galaxy Academy partner club LA Galaxy South Bay earlier this year. The 39-year-old had previously served as an assistant coach and Academy technical director with Chivas USA as well as Director of Soccer Operations and Director of Real Salt Lake-Arizona Youth. 

Vanney replaces former U.S. youth coach Tomas Rongen who had previously served as TFC's Academy Director. 

11 December 2:45 pm

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

 

11 December 10:50 am

Pablo Mastroeni ended his illustrious career on Tuesday and I had a chance to speak to the midfielder on his favorite moments of his career and his plans for the future. 

As part one of my two part interview with Mastroeni, he discusses his career and why he decided to move on from playing.

Check it out below. 

LAGI: "What made you decide to retire at the age of 37, was being separated from your family the most important aspect?" 

PM: “In the end, that ended up the biggest part. One of the questions that I asked myself was ‘from a professional perspective, why do I want to keep playing? What’s the milestone that you want to reach?’ and to be fair, I couldn’t think of one that was so tempting that I would possibly move away from the family or relocate. At the end of the day, I have an eight-year-old boy and a six-year-old girl, and I think that these ages are critical to have good parents around. I feel like that I ended my career on my own terms as far as being healthy rather than have any injury like concussions dictate my exit. I’m stepping away from the game feeling good and ready to start a new path.”

LAGI: “How do you think that you’ll be remembered? When people look back, how will they remember Pablo Mastroeni?”

PM: Well, I don’t know, I learned in this business that you need to have a tough skin because people are going to say some good things and some will be very critical. It’ll depend on just who you ask. If you ask a casual fan, he’ll say that ‘he was just a bruiser’ while someone who is a bit more sophisticated will say that he was technical and aggressive but held down the middle of the field.  However, for me, I’d like to be known as a guy that came to work every day whether it was practice or training, held myself and those around me to a high level, and most importantly got along with all the guys in the locker room. For me, the locker room was like a sanctuary and a brotherhood where we were all fighting for the same cause. I don’t know what people will say about my career, but I’m completely satisfied with I achieved, but I couldn’t be happier."

LAGI: “What have you thought of the immense reaction that you’ve gotten from across the soccer community? Tons of people have been coming forward to reflect on your career.

PM: “It’s pretty humbling because you realize how important it is to get to know people and share your passions and your perspective. I think that the game of soccer is always an excuse to be social and to get all these messages and phone calls is pretty powerful. It’s humbling and a real joy to be able to know so many people and be friends with so many people.”

LAGI: “What would you say was your greatest moment as a player?”

PM: “It had to be captaining the 2010 Colorado Rapids to MLS Cup. It was one of those teams where we needed to put together four good games. We were a team that very few people on the outside believed in, but the coaching staff and the organization knew that we had something special in that locker room. This retirement would have been so different for me if I had not won anything, yeah, I won a couple Gold Cups, but I wanted to win a championship which is the greatest thing in sports. Being a part of that team is something that I cherish most.”

LAGI: “What about your experience with the national team? How do you think that you’ll best remember that and, specifically, your role in the U.S. 2002 World Cup campaign?”

PM: My experience with the national team was great and I think that I was fortunate because there were circumstances where I was able to go from not playing a qualifier to starting [at the 2002 FIFA World Cup]. Looking back, it was such a blur and I don’t recall a lot of 2002. We had to come right back to our club and never had a moment to relish in those moments of awe. My national team experience was awesome though because I saw places that I never thought that I would see, played with great players and even played against some great players as well. It was really an eye-opening experience and that is something that I really cherish. People don’t understand the magnitude of those moments and when I think back, I realize that I’m a lot stronger than I thought. Putting it in words is almost taking away from the magnitude."

LAGI: “Does that mean that the U.S. victory over Mexico is part of the blur too?”

PM: I don’t really remember that and I've seen the video of Cuauhtémoc Blanco is standing over me looking like he’s going to punch me a hundred times, but it was just part of the blur. You’re flying to different cities, playing in different games then before you know it some guys are on Jay Leno, and you get home thinking ‘what just happened?’ That game was awesome because it was two CONCACAF rivals and we came away victorious and this is one of the experiences that I can’t wait to share with others."

--

Much more in part two later on Wednesday. 

11 December 10:01 am

With the announcement of new LA Galaxy goalkeeper coach Matt Reis, LAGalaxy.com has compiled a photo gallery of Reis' time with the Galaxy. 

Check it out below. 

11 December 8:58 am

The LA Galaxy announced on Wednesday that former LA  and New England Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis has become the club's newest goalkeeper coach. 

Reis' appointment comes amid the goalkeeper's retirement from soccer ending a 16-year career that saw him make 288 appearances, 282 starts, with 110 wins, 1,114 saves and 75 shutouts. The 2013 MLS Humanitarian of the Year and Mission Viejo, Calif. native reached MLS Cup six times during his extensive career winning in 2002 while with the LA Galaxy. 

In addition to working with the first team, the 38-year-old will also work with Galaxy Academy goalkeepers. Reis replaces Ian Feuer who had been the club's goalkeeper coach since 2007. 

10 December 12:00 pm

Soccer may not be a game of statistics but when it comes to fitness and training, numbers could be very helpful. 

Huffington Post's Katie Linendoll speaks to Galaxy players and Strength and Conditioning coach Ben Yauss to discuss the adidas miCoach equipment and how the team uses it during training and matches. 

Check out the video below...

10 December 11:36 am

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:

--

What’s your favorite Pablo Mastroeni memory?

Share them below. 

10 December 9:10 am

Pablo Mastroeni is hanging up his boots

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. 

09 December 4:53 pm

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.