While the Galaxy Academy teams do not return to competition in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy until next weekend, the club’s U-16 and U-18 teams have been actively training and preparing themselves for the final 17 games of their season. The U-18’s are 7-3-1 since opening the 2010-11 campaign in August, while the U-16’s are an impressive 10-0-1 in their 11 games, with only a last minute goal by Washington’s Crossfire Premier in October keeping them from a 100% record.
Despite not having played a game in more than three months, the Galaxy U-16’s have been in the news quite a bit during the preseason with the Galaxy’s signing of Jack McBean. The Newport Beach native signed with LA’s first team in January and after helping the U.S. Under-17 National Team earn a berth in the U-17 FIFA World Cup, he is now working to get to know his new teammates.
We caught up with him to discuss his experience with the Academy and his transition from Academy to professional player.
You joined the Galaxy Academy last summer, how much did you see your game improve in that time?
“There was better coaching and better attention to detail. The practices were a lot more intense and focused so that helped make me a better player.
How did playing in the Academy help make you a better player?
“I think just being able to play with a team full of really good players against some of the best competition around makes you a better player. You have to raise your game and work hard in the games and in practice to just get on the field.”
You helped the U.S. qualify for this summer’s U-17 World Cup, how fulfilling was that experience?
“It was a really cool experience, especially the semifinal against Jamaica when the stadium was packed. It was a crazy atmosphere and was unlike anything I had ever played in. I definitely gained a lot of experience down there being able to play in front of all of those crazy fans.”
Did you think that you would be able to make it from the Academy to the professional team so quickly?
“Not when I first joined the Academy, I didn’t really consider it to be an option. In the end, it all came together really quickly and I’m excited to be a part of this team.”
This article was originally published in the LA Galaxy Gameday Program. Be sure to pick up one of the new Gameday Programs, filled with exclusive content, match info and fun facts, the next time you're at The Home Depot Center for a Galaxy home match!