LA Galaxy Youth Academy Kicks Off

Galaxy U-16’s and U-18’s Open Development Academy Seasons on Saturday in Carson

Tristan Bowen talks to academy

Photo Credit: 
Robert Mora

Carson, Calif. – The wait is finally over.

LA Galaxy Academy players, who have been anticipating the
start of the season after a month of preseason training, have high expectations
for themselves and their respective teams.

Saturday will be the first test  for the Under-18 and Under-16 squads as the
2010-11 season gets under way at The Home Depot Center against Real Salt Lake

Sean Dhillon, 16, is a first year academy player and already
has a clear picture of what he expects for the Under-16 team on Saturday and
for the upcoming season. 

"I think we are going to do really well this season
because we have extremely good chemistry and have a bunch of players that are
good at making plays,” Dhillon said. “I'm really excited to see how we do
during the season and to see how well it lays out on the field."

For most of the academy roster, including 17-year-old
midfielder Juan Mendoza, Saturday's game can’t arrive soon enough as everyone
is poised to get the season under way.

"It feels great,” said Mendoza, who played for the
Galaxy’s U-18’s last season as well. “It's been a long wait and now we've got
to see what kind of competition we have for the upcoming season and I hope we
do well."

While games are always the reward for training, the coaching
that takes place throughout the season at the Youth Academy
is what will ultimately shape the dreams of these young soccer players on and
off the field.

Before Thursday evening's training session at The Home Depot
Center, Mendoza
shared his thoughts about the academy staff and explained why he feels they will
play an important part in his development.

"The coaching staff is great and I've really liked what
they’ve brought to practice,” Mendoza said, specifically mentioning Galaxy defender Todd Dunivant, who will serve as an assistant coach with the U-18’s
this season after helping the Galaxy’s U-20’s to a spot in the USL Super-20
League Final in August. “What he brings to practice is new to us and hopefully
that will help us win a national title.”

Dhillon also made it a point to mention what the coaching
staff means to him as a first year player within the program. "Everybody's really welcoming. I try to work hard work
and I think that I can motivate the team to do well and find success. The academy will teach me responsibility and will also help me become a better

Mendoza shared Dhillon’s belief that the team will find
their most success by working together and he knows that kind of camaraderie is
evident within his team.

"When we're on the field, it's like a family. It’s our
goal to win a national title and to do that it takes all of us, not only one. It
takes the whole team."

Simplifying a month of anticipation and a season's worth of
expectations is never easy but Dhillon captured the feelings of the players
best when he stated, "we just want to have fun and enjoy ourselves."

Sounds easy enough, especially now that the first game has
finally arrived and the fun can really begin.


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