The LA Galaxy Under-18’s will have the opportunity to test themselves against some of the world’s best clubs this March.
Sources close to the tournament told the LA Galaxy Insider that the Galaxy Academy will participate in the prestigious Dr. Pepper Dallas Cup youth tournament in the Gordon Jago Super Group for the first time in the Academy's history. The tournament takes place from March 24 to March 31 at various venues in the Dallas area including the Cotton Bowl, University of Texas-Dallas and Richland College. The age criteria for the tournament is here and every Galaxy Homegrown player is eligble to participate except for the newly signed Gyasi Zardes.
The Under-19 tournament currently consists of a number of prominent clubs including EPL side Fulham, German club Eintracht Frankfurt, Mexican sides Club America and Tigres UNAL as well as Brazilian clubs Coritiba and Fluminense. Last year, Coritiba defeated the Manchester United Under-19’s to win the tournament. The last American youth club to win the Gorgon Jago Super Group was the Dallas Texans in 2006, who were led by current Galaxy center back and 2012 MLS Cup MVP Omar Gonzalez.
Several former and current Galaxy players have cut their teeth at the Dallas Cup with David Beckham, Landon Donovan, Juninho, Oscar Sorto, Jose Villarreal, Zardes, and Gonzalez among the alumni.
Thursday was a busy day for the LA Galaxy, but my player evaluations are rolling right along with the evaluations of Homegrown forward Jose Villarreal and rookie defender Tommy Meyer.
You'll have chance to rate the players your own below...
Could the LA Galaxy have a new goalkeeper between the pipes once the 2013 season rolls around? According to report in Sports Illustrated, the LA Galaxy are close to an two-year contract agreement with veteran Italian goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini.
The report states that Cudicini has asked to be paid "the maximum possible within the club's salary cap" whether this is a Designated Player status or not, remains to be seen.
The 39-year-old goalkeeper is currently buried down the depth chart with Tottenham Hotspur, currently serving as the club's fourth-string 'keeper behind starter Hugo Lloris, American international Brad Friedel, and Brazilian international Heurelho Gomes. Cudicini has spent nearly 15 years with clubs in England's Premier League after a lengthy tour of duty in his native Italy, having played at Chelsea from 2004 to 2009 when he joined Tottenham. He has just a single first team appearance for Tottenham this year during the club's 3-0 League Cup victory over Carlisle United.
Last week, Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena told reporters that club was currently communicating with the representation of current number one goalkeeper Josh Saunders.
As reported first on the LA Galaxy Insider on Wednesday afternoon, the LA Galaxy formally announced the signature of Cal-State Bakersfield standout Gyasi Zardes on Thursday morning.
Considered the number one prospect in college soccer by many, Zardes scored 38 goals and 17 assists in 56 games during his three year stint with the Roadrunners. The former Galaxy Under-18 and Under-20 player also spent time with the PDL's Ventura County Fusion during both the 2011 and 2012 seasons.
“I am extremely excited about the opportunity to join the LA Galaxy. The chance to play in front of family and friends and alongside the likes of Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan truly is a dream come true,” Zardes said in a statement. “I would like to sincerely thank the Galaxy, MLS, Cal-State University Bakersfield and Wasserman [his agency] for their support and belief in me. I would also like to thank God without whom I would certainly not be where I am today. I am looking forward to working hard and helping the Galaxy defend their MLS Cup title next season”.
The 21-year-old forward from Hawthorne becomes the fifth Homegrown signing in Galaxy history and the fourth currently on the team as he joins Jack McBean, Oscar Sorto and Jose Villarreal.
“Gyasi has been one of the most exciting prospects in our Academy for a number of years and was one of the best players in college soccer over the past few years so we are excited to finally be able to sign him as a Homegrown Player,” Galaxy Vice President Chris Klein said in a statement. “He has grown and improved immeasurably as a result of his experiences with our Academy and at Bakersfield and we look forward to having him make his Galaxy debut in 2013.”
A video clip of some of Zardes' highlights that surfaced on Wednesday is below...
Share your thoughts on the signing below.
Add another talented young talent to the LA Galaxy.
Sources close to the negotiations have told the LA Galaxy Insider that the club will sign Cal-State Bakersfield forward Gyasi Zardes to a Homegrown contract.
Considered the top prospect in college soccer, the 6-foot-2 forward from Hawthorne starred for the Roadrunners scoring 38 goals, tallying 18 assists in 56 games over his three year stint at CSUB. In 2012, Zardes scored 15 goals in 17 matches with nine assists—the highest amount of his career. The 21-year-old, who was born to parents with Brazilian roots, will be the fifth Homegrown signing in club history and the fourth currently on the team joining Jack McBean, Oscar Sorto and Jose Villarreal.
During his three years in Central California, Zardes earned countless accolades including being named Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Offensive Player of the Year in both 2011 and 2012. Zardes was also named to the 15-man short-list for the Hermann Trophy (college soccer’s version of the Heisman Trophy) after the 2011 season.
Zardes was a staple for the Galaxy Academy set up from 2008 through 2010, playing for the Galaxy Under-18’s and Under-20’s.
The LA Galaxy have a schedule for their first two games of the 2013 season.
Earlier this week, the Galaxy announced that they will open their MLS regular season slate on March. 3 at The Home Depot Center against the Chicago Fire and on Wednesday, they learned their CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal dates.
LA will open the CCL quarterfinals campaign with the first leg on Thursday, March 7 in Costa Rica against C.S. Herediano at 5 p.m. PT. The second leg will take place at The HDC on Wednesday, March 13.
All MLS participants in CCL competition will have a bye week during week two of MLS' regular season.
Rolling right along with my end of the season evaluations, I addressed the seasons of rookie midfielder Rafael and Swedish winger Christian Wilhemsson.
As part of a new more interactive ratings system, you can chime in with your own vote of the players below.
Vote for Garcia below...
Vote for Wilhelmsson below...
Robbie Keane is waiting to see if he can reach full fitness before even contemplating going on a loan this offseason.
Keane told the Irish Independent that he still on the mend after suffering several nagging injuries including a knock to his Achilles from his 2012 season with the Galaxy. During his calendar year with the Galaxy, Keane amassed 23 goals and 10 assists as he helped the Galaxy win back-to-back MLS Cup titles. The Irishman went on an offseason loan a year ago to Aston Villa and talk of yet another loan comes as the Irish prepare for several important World Cup qualifiers in March against the likes of Sweden and Austria. Keane has recently been linked to Queen's Park Rangers.
"I haven't even thought about taking up with any other teams, I have a few little niggles that I have to sort out before I even contemplate making any decisions,” Keane told the Irish daily during a promotional event in his homeland. “There has been a lot of speculation and a few clubs are interested, but it wouldn't be right for me to go anywhere if I wasn't 100 percent fit and ready. I don't have any major problems, just an Achilles injury, but if that isn't right, I won't be going anywhere."
Back in the states, the Galaxy announced their home opener on March 3 against the Chicago Fire. Also, this week, you can vote on which Robbie Keane goal will make the LAGalaxy.com Goal of the Year Final Four. Vote here and watch the goals below.
It may not be 2013 yet, but we now know that the LA Galaxy will begin their quest for back-to-back-to-back MLS Cups against the Chicago Fire on March 3 at The Home Depot Center.
The match will be the earliest regular season game in club history, as it comes just a week ahead of the 2012 home opener against Real Salt Lake. LA is 8-6-3 in season openers and 2-2-1 when those games take place at The HDC.
At the moment, tickets for the match can be purchased by becoming a season ticket holder or by buying LA's holiday package, which includes the opener, any other two home games as well as the CONCACAF Champions League home fixture against Costa Rican side Herediano.