CARSON, Calif. – Jose Villarreal has blossomed into one of the bright spots of the LA Galaxy’s 2015 campaign, and now that has placed the midfielder back on the radar of the U.S. National Team’s U-23 squad.
The Galaxy have two representatives on Andres Herzog’s U-23 squad as defender Oscar Sorto and Galaxy II forward Ariel Lassiter made the roster, but Villarreal confirmed that he was initially on that list as well, but declined the opportunity in order to focus on solidifying his role with the Galaxy.
“I spoke to Bruce and said that I just wanted to stay and work with the team because [international call-ups] will come eventually,” Villarreal told LA Galaxy Insider on Monday ahead of the team's D.C. United this weekend. “I personally wanted to stay because I didn’t want to kill the rhythm that I have with the team, and have to come back and need to win my spot again.
“[International play] will come with the way that I’ve been playing,” he added. “I just have to keep being consistent with the form that I have. The U-23s are a tough group to get into, with a lot of talented players, but I think that if I keep improving then I can make that team.”
After a difficult 2014 season, Villarreal has regained the swagger that made him one of the brightest young talents in MLS just a few seasons ago, even declaring that “there’s no going down from here.”
“There’s nothing that you can ask for other than working hard on the field other than hustling and busting your ass on the field,” said Villarreal. “That’s what most players want from the youngsters so you have to do that no matter what.”
CARSON, Calif. -- Jose Villarreal is back and the LA Galaxy Homegrown Player believes that he has plenty to prove returning to Southern California.
In my latest piece for LAGalaxy.com, Villarreal talks about his frustrations with his stint with Cruz Azul and his eagerness to shine for Galaxy II. Villarreal failed to register a single appearance for the Cruz Azul first team, but scored in his first appearance for Los Dos last weekend in their loss to the Pittsburgh Riverhounds
More of Jose Villarreal's thoughts on coming back are below.
(On whether he regrets his transfer to Mexico…)
VILLARREAL: “I wouldn’t say regret, but it was a challenge. But it was a challenge that I learned a lot from. It wasn’t really a failure or a little disappointment. It was something like I went to Mexico with a mentality to do well, and it didn’t go my way. I came back with the same mentality, and I will try to do the same thing that I’ve been doing here.”
(On whether he was disappointed in the way it ended…)
VILLARREAL: “Maybe if I had gotten few more games, then my decision would have been a lot tougher. So it is what it is, and I’m happy with that.”
(On the main lesson that he learned in Mexico…)
VILLARREAL: “Lifestyle is different obviously, but the society isn’t as wealthy as it is here. So, you can see the difference of the way players live versus the way that the people live. So that was the learning off the field. And on the field, it was a different kind of soccer, and got to learn it the first two years that I was here, so from the five months that I was there, I will try to bring what I learned over there and mix it up with the style over here.”
(On whether the biggest regret at Mexico was not getting enough minutes…)
VILLARREAL: “I think that was what it was. I was coming from being on the bench and getting few minutes with the Galaxy here and there, and few starts, and Champions League. So, I went down there and I couldn’t play the Champions League because of the rule, and those games were good, and we ended up winning the Champions League, so it would have been good to get into those games, but as you said not being able to get minutes. Maybe I could have waited, but I didn’t so, we’ll see what happens from now. Most of the minutes that I was getting were with the U-20s. I think I played 10 minutes with the Hidalgo team, so it was a bit frustrating but it was just some bumps on the road and I just got to keep going.”
(On the differences between top players in Mexico and in the USA…)
VILLARREAL: “From the top players like top players like Robbie Keane, who is from oversea, 90% chance is a goal. So he is the guy that you want on your team. You could see the difference. For example, Gyasi has been great this season. Last season, he had a lot of opportunities and he was working on it. Now you give this player minutes there is confidence when he steps on the field. Just keep going and the result is going well so I’m happy for him.”
(On any first team aspirations that he holds…)
VILLARREAL: “I haven’t really talked about that. I’m focused, right now, and I’m looking to make a full commitment with [Galaxy II head coach Curt Onalfo] and the second team. I am happy to be with Curt. I’ve been working with him for a while and he is a good coach.”
CARSON, Calif. -- Jose Villarreal is returning to the LA Galaxy.
The Galaxy announced on Friday that Homegrown Player Jose Villarreal is returning to the team from his loan to Liga MX side Cruz Azul and is being loaned to USL PRO affiliate Galaxy II. Villarreal is in Pittsburgh and will be available for the team's match against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. PT.
Villarreal, 20, was reduced to appearances for the Cruz Azul Under-21 side and Cruz Azul-Hidalgo during his stint with La Maquina during an unsuccessful loan stint with the Mexican club. Villarreal made 22 appearances with 12 starts as well as two goals and one assist for the Galaxy in 2013.
He'll join his younger brother Jaime, who is also with Galaxy II.
CARSON, Calif. – There was a new face at LA Galaxy training on Monday afternoon.
Galaxy Homegrown Player Jose Villarreal has begun training with the club as he prepares for Cruz Azul’s preseason training camp ahead of the Apertura tournament in June. Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena told reporters that Villarreal, who donned the No. 5 most recently worn by former defender Sean Franklin that he will be training with the team for the next couple of weeks.
“There was a little break and I managed to get a chance to be back here and see some old faces,” said Villarreal. “I’m just happy to be back here and get some training in.”
After failing to make an appearance for the Cruz Azul first team and then being loaned to second division Cruz Azul-Hidalgo, the 20-year-old admits that he has spoken to La Maquina head coach Luis Fernando Tena about a place with the team in the upcoming tournament.
“I spoke to the head coach in bit,” said Villarreal. “He told me to be ready for what it is to come and to simply be ready for anything.”
— Adam Serrano (@LAGalaxyInsider) May 19, 2014
CARSON, Calif. – Jose Villarreal admits that he’s still adapting to the style of play and the elevation in Mexico, but the LA Galaxy Homegrown Player says that he has no regrets about going on a year-long loan to Liga MX side Cruz Azul.
Villarreal, who is participating in the United States U-21 training camp, is currently with Cruz Azul’s Liga de Ascenso club Cruz Azul Hidalgo for the duration of the 2014 Clausura tournament. While the 20-year-old admits that the season has been a “frustrating” experience, he’s confident that he can get into Cruz Azul’s first team during the Apertura tournament later this year.
“It’s a different level of soccer, you just have to adjust and deal with whatever comes up,” said Villarreal who admits that he’s been playing primarily with the team’s U-20 team as well as Hidalgo. “I’ve been in and out of the rotation, but I’m looking to get back with the first team. This season has been tough to get minutes; I just want to work hard as I look toward the next preseason so that I can get in with their first team and get more minutes.”
But does he think that he'll be staying with Cruz Azul when loan deal expires at the end of the year?
“No regrets at all with the move. I felt like I needed to do it. I'll always be a Galaxy player,” said Villarreal. “There's curveballs but I'll expect it to play out. Hopefully I'll get some minutes and if It happens that I stay then I'll stay but if I don't then I’ll bring whatever I can once I get back to LA.”
Three players with LA Galaxy connections have been named to the upcoming U.S. National Team Under-21 training camp that will take place at StubHub Center from April 20-24.
LA Galaxy Homegrown Players Jack McBean, Oscar Sorto and Jose Villarreal were named to the squad by U-21 head coach Tab Ramos. The U-21 squad was designed to serve as bridge between the U.S. U-20 squad and the U-23 group that will look to qualify for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The camp will end with a friendly against Club Tijuana on Wednesday.
Both McBean and Sorto who are on loan with Galaxy II will join the camp after competing with LA’s U-18 squad at the Dallas Cup while Villarreal is currently on loan with Liga MX side Cruz Azul but has been assigned to their second division affiliate Cruz Azul Hidalgo for the duration of the 2014 Clausura tournament.
“We’re excited to bring some of our best young players together for this initial U-21 camp,” said Ramos in a statement by U.S. Soccer. “We’re hoping that we can have another two or three camps between now and the end of the year. This camp is purely to have the team together so that we begin moving in the right direction. When the time is right, we can put a group that has kept playing together and is familiar with each other in front of the permanent coach.”
The entire camp roster is below.
GOALKEEPERS (2): Jonathan Kempin (Oklahoma City Energy; Leawood, Kan.), Kendall McIntosh (Santa Clara; Santa Rosa, Calif.)
DEFENDERS (5): Christian Dean (Vancouver Whitecaps; East Palo Alto, Calif.), Juan Pablo Ocegueda (Tigres UANL; Riverside, Calif.), Shane O’Neill (Colorado Rapids; Boulder, Colo.), Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids; Brighton, Colo.), Oscar Sorto (LA Galaxy; Los Angeles, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake; Garden Grove, Calif.), Alejandro Guido (Club Tijuana; Chula Vista, Calif.), Marlon Hairston (Colorado Rapids; Jackson, Miss.), Benji Joya (Chicago Fire; San Jose, Calif.), Collin Martin (D.C. United; Chevy Chase, Md.), Esteban Rodriguez (Club Tijuana; Bell Gardens, Calif.), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew; Gahanna, Ohio)
FORWARDS (7): Daniel Cuevas (CF Lobos BUAP; Sacramento, Calif.), Danny Garcia (FC Dallas; Dallas, Texas), Jack McBean (LA Galaxy; Newport Beach, Calif.), Jordan Morris (Stanford; Mercer Island, Wash.), Sean Okoli (Seattle Sounders FC; Federal Way, Wash.), Victor Pineda (Chicago Fire; Bolingbrook, Ill.), Jose Villarreal (Cruz Azul; Inglewood, Calif.)
Jose Villarreal is on the move again, this time to Liga de Ascenso club Cruz Azul Hidalgo.
Villarreal had made just two appearances for the team’s Under-20 side in recent weeks after suffering a leg injury that prevented him from suiting up for La Maquina (The Machine) immediately after his year-long loan deal was announced. The length of the 20-year-old forward’s loan means that if he is able to impress his coaches in the second division then it is conceivable that he’d rejoin the first team upon the start of the 2014 Apertura Tournament this summer.
Currently, Cruz Azul Hidalgo has 11 points after seven matches this season and are tied for third place in the Liga de Ascenso with Lobos BUAP. The Hidalgo-based club is also still alive in the Copa MX and takes on C.F. Monterrey on Wednesday.
CARSON, Calif. – Jose Villarreal made his first appearance in a Cruz Azul kit on Saturday as he scored a goal for the team’s U-20 side in a 1-1 draw with the Chivas de Guadalajara U-20’s.
Villarreal’s goal came five minutes into the match and comes less than a week after he made his first appearance for the team as a whole in a friendly against a non-professional team from the Mexican Armed Forces.
The Galaxy attacker was joined in the lineup by San Diego-native Michael Farfan who also made his first showing for the Cruz Azul U-20 side.
The LA Galaxy have yet to start their preparations for the 2014 MLS Regular season, but the Galaxy’s opponents for the 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League Club Tijuana are in the midst of their Liga MX season.
Tijuana fell on Saturday 2-1 to Liga MX rival Pachuca to 1-1-1 in their first three matches of the season. Xolos host Monarcas Morelia on Friday at Estadio Calliente. Cristian Pellerano placed Xolos out in front six minutes into the match, but two second half goals from Los Tuzos’ Emer Valencia and Walter Ayovi proved too much for Tijuana. Americans Herculez Gomez, Edgar Castillo, Joe Benny Corona, and Paul Arriola each made appearances in the defeat.
Meanwhile in other Liga MX news, Galaxy Homegrown forward Jose Villarreal has yet to make his first team debut for Cruz Azul after failing to make the game day roster during their 1-0 victory over Chiapas.
Highlights of Tijuana’s defeat are below.
Former LA Galaxy Academy player Paul Arriola’s career path could have taken him to MLS, but instead he opted for Liga MX side Club Tijuana, and the one-time LA Academy forward isn’t at all surprised that young players like LA’s Jose Villarreal are heading south of the border.
Villarreal is the latest in a slew of players who have left MLS for Mexico after he joined Cruz Azul last month on a year-long loan. Although Villarreal left LA on a loan, Arriola opted to sign with Tijuana last May after spurning a Homegrown contract from the Galaxy.
Arriola and Xolos will take on the LA Galaxy in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal on March 12 at StubHub Center before the return leg on March 18 in Tijuana. Although hypothetically, Arriola could have been lining up for LA in the CCL quarterfinals if things had gone differently, he applauds players opting to play in Mexico.
“It’s good for American players who want to take a different route. Sometimes in [the United States] we’re not given the opportunity so there are other options and places to go,” Arriola told LAGalaxy.com. “Luckily for myself, my opportunity came and I was able to take it. Now here I am [with the first team].”
While Villarreal’s status with the Cruz Azul first team remains in question at the moment as he finds his feet in Mexico, Arriola is already in new head coach César Farías’ plans after making the game day roster for the club’s scoreless draw with Atlas on Saturday.
“It was a bit different last season because I went from a wing player to a second striker who sometimes switches out wide,” said Arriola. “It’s been different and I’m getting the opportunity to play so I’m thankful for that."