Q&A with LA Galaxy Academy Defender Malcolm Jones
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in the LA Galaxy Gameday Program that was available at StubHub Center from Sept. 21-Oct. 20.
Malcolm Jones has spent plenty of time with the U.S. National Team set up. The 16-year-old defender has represented his country at the Under-14, Under-15 and Under-17 levels and recently participated in the U-18 Men’s National Team week-long training camp in September at U.S. Soccer’s National Training Center in Carson, Calif., a camp designed to narrow down head coach Javier Perez’s 36-man squad down to an 18-player roster prior to departing for a four-team tournament in Limoges, France to build the core of the U-18 squad that will compete together in the next U-20 FIFA World Cup in 2015.
The Chino Hills-native now shifts his focus from National Team duty to the Galaxy U-18’s as the Academy team has already embarked on their 2013-14 U.S. Soccer Development Academy campaign with three wins in as many games and has outscored their opposition by a remarkable 14-3 score line. Jones, saw 22-minutes of action in LA’s Reserve League match against the Colorado Rapids in early September, brings his quickness and pace down the flanks from Chivas USA’s academy and will aim to help the Galaxy win their first ever U-18 National Championship.
Q: What can we expect from the Galaxy Academy U-18 squad this season?
A: “I think we can expect a lot of good things from the U-18’s, there’s a lot of talented players here. It takes time to merge together but I think we’re really starting to gel nicely now and we (hope we) can go far in playoffs and Finals Week and win a championship.”
Q: What does it mean to you personally to be playing for and representing this club’s academy?
A: “It means a lot. It’s a lot different, a lot better over here. Not taking anything away from Chivas but it’s a lot more organized here, a lot more stability and that’s one of the main reasons I came over and I really like that a lot. It just means a lot that they really look out for us, Pete [Vagenas] is out here, Jovan [Kirovski], they’re always out here at our trainings, inviting us to reserve trainings and things like that. I just feel like they’re giving us an opportunity that I never really got at Chivas.”
Q: What’s it like having seven former MLS players on the academy’s coaching staff?
A: “It’s awesome. All these guys have great experiences and they those experiences with us, it’s really special. It’s nice to know that they got to where you want to be so you can take everything they say, knowing they’ve been there, and just listen and take it knowing that’s where you want to be someday.”
Q: How do you feel about the Galaxy nurturing and retaining their top local talent and, in turn, signing them to professional contracts like, Jack McBean, Oscar Sorto, Jose Villarreal and Gyasi Zardes?
A: “It tells you they really put a lot of emphasis on their Academy, which is a good thing. The coaches are bringing us up and training us and preparing us well for the future. So it’s really a good thing and it’s really nice to see that so maybe one day, it could be you.”
Q: What was it like seeing action in the Reserve League match against Colorado?
A: It was great. I was a little nervous at first but after the first five minutes I settled down. The guys are really reassuring; they gave me a lot of support. Coach [Curt Onalfo] told me just do my thing and be confident and it really helped out, made me reassured in myself. It was just a really great experience.”
Q: Have you had the chance to speak with LA Galaxy Head Coach Bruce Arena yet?
A: “He said “Hi” to us a few times and thanked us for coming out to the reserve training, which was really cool. I didn’t expect him to be there and then I saw him, it was crazy, I was a little star struck.”