LA Galaxy Academy teams set to kick off new season

Galaxy U-16’s and U-18’s host Seattle and Portland this weekend

CARSON, Calif. (Friday, September 7, 2012) – The 2012-13 Development Academy season kicks off this weekend with the LA Galaxy U-18 and U-16 teams hosting Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday morning and the Portland Timbers on Sunday at The Home Depot Center.

First up for last year’s SoCal Division champions in both age groups is the Sounders this Saturday on University Field 2 at The Home Depot Center. The U-18’s will kickoff at 10 a.m., followed by the U-16’s at 12:30 p.m.

On Sunday, the Galaxy return to the same field to host the Portland Timbers, who are in their first year in the Development Academy. The games kickoff at the same time as the day before, U-18’s at 10 a.m. followed by the U-16’s at 12:30 p.m.

LA Galaxy U-18 Head Coach Eddie Soto is ready for the season to start and is aware that the road to the playoffs won’t be easy.

“It's going to be a long season with ups and downs, but I feel with the right guidance we'll be able to manage these kids down the right path,” Soto said. “Alex Yi (Galaxy U-18 Assistant Coach) and I are fully committed to help develop these kids to reach there full potential physically, technically, and emotionally.

“With our recent success of our homegrown signees, we'll continue to look to create an environment that's competitive and challenging. If we can do that, the transition into the first team hopefully isn't as big of an adjustment.”

The U-18 and U-16 teams aren’t the only teams starting their new season this weekend. All four of the club’s youth teams that play in the Southern California Development Soccer League also start playing on Saturday and Sunday.

The U-12’s start the new season, their first under head coach Ted Eck, at home at North Torrance High School against Real So Cal at 9 a.m. The U-13’s begin their first season with head coach Braeden Cloutier against FC Golden State at Veterans Sports Park in Pomona Saturday at 2:10 p.m.

The U-14’s, led by former MLS forward Ante Razov, kick off the season on Sunday, September 9, against Pateadores at Hollywood High School at 2 p.m., while the U-15’s, under the guidance of head coach Alex Yi, play their season opener on Saturday, September 8 against Real So Cal at Canoga Park High School at 2:10 p.m.

All four of the Galaxy’s youth teams in SCDSL are coached by former MLS players. Razov is one of just seven players in league history with more than 100 goals, while Cloutier, Eck and Yi all played in MLS for the San Jose Earthquakes, Dallas Burn and FC Dallas, respectively.

EARLY START TO THE SEASON: When the Galaxy U-16 and U-18 teams kick off the new Development Academy season this weekend, it will be the earliest the club has started their campaign, besting last year’s start by nine days.

In 2008, the first time the Galaxy took part in the Development Academy, the teams kicked off the season on Sept. 27. The next year, the Galaxy started on Oct. 3. Last year, the teams began on Sept. 17.

The Galaxy’s record on opening day has been quite good, with the U-18’s holding a 3-0-0 mark. Including a 1-0 win over De Anza Force last year, and the U-16’s registering a 1-1-2 record, including a 4-4 draw with De Anza Force last year. Last year, the Galaxy went up against De Anza Force in their first game of the season on the road. The U-18’s got a 1-0 win while U-16’s played them to a 4-4 draw.

The younger teams enjoyed similar success in the Southern California Development Soccer League. The U-12’s started the year a 1-0 win over FC Golden State Academy, it was their first of four-straight win to start the season. The U-13’s began their campaign with a 1-1 draw with eventual league champions Pateadores, while the U-14’s started the year with a terrific 4-0 win over Exiles SC. The U-15’s, then coached by current U-16 head coach Craig Harrington, started their season with an impressive 5-0 win, they followed that up with a  6-2 win over South Bay Force en route to a 10-1-0 record and the league championship, the only title the club won in the SCDSL last year.

ARRIOLA TRAVELS TO NETHERLANDS WITH U.S. U-18: LA Galaxy forward Paul Arriola (Chula Vista, CA) was one of 20 players named to the U.S. Under-18 team that will travel to the Netherlands to play against the Dutch U-18 team. Headed up by head coach Javier Perez, the U.S. U-18 team will be based in the Netherlands from Sept. 6-17 and will also play friendlies against Feyenoord Rotterdam, Borussia Dortmund and Club Brugge during the trip. Arriola will miss this weekend’s Galaxy Academy games against Seattle and Portland, but will be eligible for selection for the next game against Arsenal FC on Saturday, Sept. 22, at Riverside Community College.

RAMOS IN CAMP WITH U.S. U-15 NATIONAL TEAM: LA Galaxy U-16 defender Alex Ramos (Reseda, CA) was named to the 36-player U.S. Under-15 training camp taking place at The Home Depot Center this week. The camp, which goes Sept. 1-8, is the final training camp in the U-15 cycle for Ramos and 29 other players. The new cycle (players born in 1998) is expected to begin in October.

U.S. SOCCER TO LAUNCH U-14 SEASON IN 2013: In an effort to identify and develop soccer players in this country at a younger age, U.S. Soccer announced on Aug. 30 that it would be creating an Under-14 division for the Development Academy. The division, which begin play fall of 2013, will consist of current Academy teams that participate in the U-16 and U-18 divisions and will possibly add a limited number of clubs that are not currently part of the structure. The clubs selected for the U-13/14 age group will follow a model that increases training to four times a week, with fewer but meaningful matches, and the schedule structure will be regionalized to limit the amount of travel. For more information on the launch of the U-14 Development Academy League, head over to ussoccer.com.

THIS WEEK’S SCHEDULE

LA Galaxy U-12 vs. Real So Cal U-12                       
Saturday, September 8                         
Game will be played at North Torrance High School at 9 a.m.

LA Galaxy U-13 vs. FC Golden State U-12                
Saturday, September 8                         
Game will be played at Veterans Sports Park in Pomona at 2:10 p.m.

LA Galaxy U-14 vs. Pateadores U-14                        
Saturday, September 9                         
Game will be played at Hollywood High School at 2 p.m.

LA Galaxy U-15 vs. Real So Cal U-15                       
Saturday, September 8                         
Game will be played at Canoga Park High School at 2:10 p.m.

LA Galaxy U-18 vs. Seattle Sounders FC U-18        
Saturday, September 8                         
Game will be played at The Home Depot Center at 12:30 p.m.

LA Galaxy U-18 vs. Portland Timbers U-18 Team       
Sunday, September 9                           
Game will be played at The Home Depot Center at 12:30 p.m.

LA Galaxy U-18 vs. Seattle Sounders FC U-18          
Saturday, September 8                         
Game will be played at The Home Depot Center at 10 a.m.

LA Galaxy U-18 vs. Portland Timbers U-18                
Sunday, September 9                           
Game will be played at The Home Depot Center at 10 a.m.

Times and locations for all games are correct as of Friday, September 7. Click here for a complete schedule of games in the Southern California Development Soccer League and U.S. Soccer Development Academy, which includes the Galaxy Academy’s U-16 and U-18 teams.