The formation and implications of LA Galaxy’s USL PRO side LA Galaxy II have been at the forefront of the conversation among American soccer circles over the past week.
Whether it was LA Technical Director Jovan Kirovski’s assertion that the project will be duplicated league wide or head coach and general manager Bruce Arena stating that the team will have a chance to close “black hole” that has existed in American player development.
On Friday, new LA Galaxy II head coach Curt Onalfo joined the conversation with an interview by NASN’s Jason Davis to discuss the project.
During the interview, Onalfo revealed that Galaxy II players will be training as early as Tuesday while also stating that the team will be loaning as many as seven Galaxy first team players to the USL PRO side. Onalfo also mentioned that he opted to for the position with Galaxy II rather than take the head coaching gig with Chivas USA.
Listen to his interview which starts at the 30 minute mark below.
Bruce Arena: LA Galaxy to be "guinea pigs" with USL PRO project as they seek to bridge development "black hole"
CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy made MLS history on Wednesday by becoming the first team to operate a lower division club with the foundation of USL PRO side LA Galaxy II, and head coach Bruce Arena fully expects the rest of the league to follow in the club’s footsteps.
On Thursday, USL PRO unveiled the Galaxy II’s schedule for the upcoming 2014 season which will begin with their March 22 match against the Los Angeles Blues. Following LA’s training session, Arena stated that the creation of LA Galaxy II was a necessary step in the development of the American soccer player.
“We’ve lacked the next step for academy players or our players that are just outside of our first team. We’ve had a bit of a black hole in our development. This makes everything more natural,” said Arena on Thursday. “A young player can go from the U-18 to the USL team to the first team for those players that need those steps. That’s a majority of players so it’ll be a benefit for us.”
Arena also cleared up a few logistical questions noting that teams will train separately and that he will have “a lot of freedom” as they loan LA first team players back and forth between Galaxy and Galaxy II.
For all the confidence, Arena admits that the experience won’t be an easy one, but one that the club expects to pay dividends in the future.
“It’s definitely the future,” said Arena. “We’re going to be guinea pigs in the first year, it’s not going to be easy but it’ll be good going forward.”
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. -- LA Galaxy Academy product Jacob Muchnick was among the 36 players selected by U.S. U-14 Boys National Team head coach Tony Lepore for their training camp in Lakewood Ranch, Florida from Feb. 1 to Feb. 9.
During the training camp, the players will train twice during the day while also taking on local club sides on Feb. 5 before ending the camp with a match against the U.S. U-17 Residency side on Feb. 8.
To date, Muchnick is one of the rising stars of the Galaxy U-13/14 side with one goal in 10 appearances for LA's youngest Development Academy team.
The complete roster is below.
GOALKEEPERS: Alexander Budnik (Sockers FC; Arlington Heights, Ill.), Chandler Cree (CASL RailHawks Academy; Cary, N.C.), Quantrell Jones (Baltimore Celtics; Baltimore, Md.), Hunter Pinho (PDA; Cranford, N.J.)
DEFENDERS: Charlie Asensio (Georgia United; Rosewell, Ga.), Coby Atkinson (Boca United; Sunrise, Fla.), Zico Bailey (Las Vegas Heat; Las Vegas, Nev.), Connor Hester (Braddock Road; Middleburg, Va.), John Hilton (Chivas USA; Long Beach, Calif.), Jaylin Lindsey (Charlotte SA; Charlotte, N.C.), Dorian Morrison (FC Golden State; Chino Hills, Calif.), Ian Murphy (FC Golden State; Redlands, Calif.), Carlo Ritaccio (BW Gottschee; Westbury, N.Y.), Tyler Shaver (NYSC; Riverside, Conn.), Chandler Vaughn (D.C. United; Woodbridge, Va.)
MIDFIELDERS: George Acosta (Weston FC; Miami, Fla.), Carlos Anguiano Dias (Chivas USA; Los Angeles, Calif.), Pablo Arias (New York Red Bulls; Ledgewood, N.J.), Jake Arteaga (LAFA; Glendora, Calif.), Andrew Carleton (United Futbol Academy; Powder Springs, Ga.), Jon Paul Fernandez (BSC; Stamford, Conn.), Seth Kuhn (PA Classics; Wyomissing, Pa.), Jacob Muchnick (LA Galaxy; Newport Beach, Calif.), Matteo Ritaccio (BW Gottschee; Westbury, N.Y.), Amos Shapiro-Thompson (New England Revolution; Worthington, Mass.), Sean Zawadzki (Crew Soccer Academy; Olmsted Falls, Ohio), Jesus Sahagun (Weston FC; Miami, Fla.)
FORWARDS: Wilmer Cabrera (Colorado Rapids; Aurora, Colo.), Jalen James (Dallas Texans; Dallas, Texas), Niccolo Lemoine (Ballistic USC; Pleasanton, Calif.), Ricky Mendez (Marin FC Alliance; San Rafael, Calif.), Joshua Sargent (St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri; O’Fallon, Mo.), Travian Sousa (Ballistic USC; Lanthrow, Calif.), Arturo Vasquez (LAFA; Mira Loma, Calif.), Timothy Weah (New York Red Bulls; Rosedale, N.Y.), Tristan Weber (United FC; San Clemente, Calif.)
Three members of the LA Galaxy Academy were called up for the U.S. U-15 Boys’ upcoming training camp in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, U.S. Soccer announced on Wednesday.
Galaxy goalkeeper Erik Lopez, defender Ateno Ajeakwa and forward Hanif Wright were among the 20 players called up by U-15 head coach Hugo Perez for the camp which will run from Jan. 31-Feb. 9. During their training camp, the U.S. will take on Al Jazira FC on Feb. 3, Oman on Feb. 4 before ending their time in the Middle East with two friendlies against the United Arab Emirates on Feb. 6 and 8.
The Galaxy Academy were one of three teams with three players called up to the squad joining FC Dallas Academy and the New York Red Bulls Academy. 10 native Californians were named to the roster including Northern California native Ben Lederman who is currently with Spanish giants F.C. Barcelona.
The complete squad is below.
GOALKEEPERS : Carlos Avilez (FC Dallas; Dallas, Texas), Erik Lopez (LA Galaxy; Westminster, Calif.)
DEFENDERS: Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls; Wappingers Falls, N.Y.), Ateno Ajeakwa (LA Galaxy; Gardena, Calif.), McKay Eves (San Diego Surf; San Diego, Calif.), Kyle Gruno (Leicester FC; Saddle River, N.J.), Edwin Lara (Unattached; San Leandro, Calif.), Sam Vines (Colorado Rapids; Colorado Springs, Colo.)
MIDFIELDERS: Jose Carranza (D.C. United; Manassas, Va.), Jonathan Gonzalez (Atletico Santa Rosa; Santa Rosa, Calif.), Christopher Goslin (UFA Elite; Locust Grove, Ga.), Ben Lederman (Barcelona; Barcelona, Spain), Nicholas Taitague (FC Richmond Magic; Midlothian, Va.), Juan Pablo Torres (Georgia United; Lilburn, Ga.)
FORWARDS: Lucas Del Rosario (CASL; Durham, N.C.), Jeanpaul Marin (New York Red Bulls; Rego Park, N.Y.), Leonardo Marquez (Odyssey South; Visalia, Calif.), Marty Raygoza (FC Golden State; South El Monte, Calif.), Adolfo Trujillo (De Anza Force; Livermore, Calif.), Hanif Wright (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.)
Adonis Amaya continued his torrid scoring run with two goals as the LA Galaxy U-18’s crushed Folsom-based San Juan Soccer Club 3-0.
Amaya put the Galaxy U-18’s out in front in the 66th minute before teammate Ryo Fujii doubled the lead just three minutes later. The former U.S. U-17 international completed his brace in the 81st minute to give the Galaxy their second straight victory and bring his goal total to 14, putting him level with De Anza Force's Carlos Delgadillo and Carolina Rapids' Tanner Roberts for the USSDA goalscoring lead. The Galaxy U-18’s are now 9-3-2 on the year and will take on the Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-18’s on Feb. 8.
The Galaxy U-16 side extended their unbeaten streak to 14 games with a 4-0 victory over San Juan SC. Ethan Zubak tallied a brace in the victory with Dylan Smith and Rey Ortiz rounding out the scoring. The Galaxy U-16’s remain the lone undefeated team in their age group with a 10-0-4 record and return to action on Feb. 8 against the Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-16 side.
It's been quite the few months for Haji Wright and on Saturday, he added another goal and another trophy.
Wright and Monterrey product Joe Gallardo scored as the U-17's defeated host nation Turkey to win the Aegean Cup. The goal was Wright's first of the tournament, but the LA Galaxy Academy forward has been considered one of the top performers during the tournament in Turkey. Wright's performance comes on the heels of his stellar five goal showing that helped the U.S. win the Nike International Friendlies in December.
The U.S. U-17's have been a revelation in the tournament after going undefeated in group play with victories over France and Norway as well as a draw with Scotland before qualifying for the final and defeating Turkey.
Thoughts on Wright's performances? Should he be a homegrown signing for LA?
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The U.S. Under-17’s and LA Galaxy Academy forward Haji Wright continued their impressive run on Wednesday with a 5-2 victory over Norway to advance to the championship of the Aegean Cup.
Wright came off the bench in the 41st minute as Americans overwhelmed the Scandinavians with three second half goals in a match that was shortened to 80 minutes due to tournament regulations. The match comes just a day after the Galaxy Academy forward tallied an assist in U-17’s dramatic 2-1 win over France.
The U.S. will close group play on Friday against Scotland before taking part in the tournament’s championship match on Jan. 25.
Thoughts on Wright’s continued development? Hope that he ends up as an LA Galaxy Homegrown Player?
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PHILADELPHIA – The LA Galaxy added a new center back in Kyle Venter at the 2014 MLS SuperDraft, but according to Bruce Arena LA will be adding two more Homegrown Players in Raul Mendiola and Bradford Jamieson.
Mendiola, an attacking midfielder and former Galaxy Under-18, made nine appearances for the Galaxy reserves in 2013. Jamieson, a forward, has scored two goals in 10 appearances with the Galaxy Under-18’s this season and made three appearances for LA’s reserves last year.
Arena revealed the news following LA’s selection of Venter on Thursday and also alluded to another potential Homegrown signing.
“We signed a new player this year in Raul Menidola and Bradford Jamieson and we’ll probably sign another one in the near future. We believe in the Homegrown Players,” said Arena at the 2014 MLS SuperDraft on Thursday.
Thoughts on the moves?
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LA Galaxy Academy forward Haji Wright will be joining the U.S. Under-17 National Team for the upcoming Aegean Cup in Turkey.
During the tournament which runs from Jan. 20-25, the U.S. were placed in Group B of the tournament will face off against Norway, Scotland and reigning Aegean Cup champion France. The U.S. opens the tournament against the French on Jan. 20 before taking on Norway on Jan. 21 and then ending the group stage against Scotland on Jan. 23. The group winners will meet on Jan. 25 with the two second place teams facing off in the third place game on the same day.
The complete roster is below.
GOALKEEPERS: Carlos Avilez (FC Dallas Academy; Dallas, Texas), Will Pulisic (Richmond Strikers; Mechanicsville, Va.)
DEFENDERS: Hugo Arellano (Chivas USA Academy; Norwalk, Calif.), Tanner Dieterich (unattached, Tenn.), Edwin Lara (unattached; San Leandro, Calif.), John Nelson (Internationals; Medina, Ohio), Matthew Olosunde (New York Red Bulls Academy; Trenton, N.J.), Alexis Velela (San Diego Surf; San Diego, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS: Eric Calvillo (Real So Cal; Palmdale, Calif.), Luca de la Torre (Fulham; San Diego, Calif.), Thomas McCabe (PDA; South Orange, N.J.), Logan Panchot (St. Louis, Mo.; St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri), Christian Pulisic (PA Classics; Hershey, Pa.), Nicholas Taitague (Richmond Strikers; Midlothian, Va.), Devin Vega (San Antonio Scorpions; San Antonio, Texas)
FORWARDS: Pierre Da Silva (New York Soccer Club; Port Chester, N.Y.), Orrin McKinze Gaines (Lonestar SC; Austin, Texas), Joe Gallardo (Monterrey FC; San Diego, Calif.) Elijah Rice (Chicago Magic PSG; Highland Park, Ill.), Haji Wright (LA Galaxy Academy; Los Angeles, Calif.)