CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy Academy U-16 team will begin their first-ever trip to the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Finals on Sunday, July 10 when they open play in Group 1. The No. 4 ranked team at the U-16 Academy Playoffs, which were held in Frisco, Texas last month, the Galaxy are the second highest remaining seed heading into the Academy Finals. The Galaxy U-16’s are 20-5-3 on the season so far, including a perfect 3-0-0 record in the Academy Playoffs, when they beat Sporting Kansas City, the IMG Soccer Academy and the Houston Dynamo to finish atop Group 3 and earn a trip to the Academy Finals. This year’s Academy Finals will be played at three venues in Milwaukee, Wis. with the U-16 Final to be played on Saturday, July 16 at 6 p.m. (PT).
The Galaxy will fly to Wisconsin on Saturday ahead of their first game of Finals Week on Sunday, July 10 when they take on SoCal Division rivals Real So Cal. This will be the third time this year that the two sides have met with the Galaxy winning 3-2 at The Home Depot Center on April 17 and then again as the road team at Calabasas High School on June 11. Galaxy forward Justin Dhillon, who was named to the U-16 Development Academy West Conference Starting XI, scored three times in the two games en route to a team-high 19 goals on the year, including four so far in the Development Academy Playoffs. Real So Cal entered the postseason as the No. 22 seed and narrowly won Group 4 of the Academy Playoffs with a 2-0-1 record for seven points.
The Galaxy will return to action on Tuesday, July 12 when they face the only team that they have not already played this season, the Dallas Texans. The 29th ranked team entering the postseason, the Texans went 2-0-1 in Group D at the Academy Playoffs at Pizza Hut Park late last month to earn a trip to Wisconsin. The former club team of the Galaxy’s Omar Gonzalez, the Texans finished the regular season with an 11-6-6 record, good for second place in the Central Conference’s Texas Division.
Head coach Kenny Arena’s team will play their third and final group game on Thursday, July 14 when they take on Seattle Sounders FC. The Galaxy defeated the Sounders 3-0 at The Home Depot Center in their fourth game of the season on October 23, 2010. Jack McBean, who signed a professional contract with the Galaxy in January 2011, scored LA’s first goal that day with Drew Murphy and Sean Dhillon adding second half goals. The highest remaining seed in the U-16 playoffs, the third-ranked Sounders have lost just three games this season, including the one against the Galaxy. They were a perfect 3-0-0 in Group 1 at the Academy Playoffs in Texas to advance to Finals Week.
If the Galaxy win Group 1, they will play the winner of the Group 2, which features the North Carolina Fusion (No. 7 seed), PA Classics (No. 11 seed), CASL Chelsea (No. 15 seed) and Real Salt Lake AZ (No. 18 seed) in the U-16 Final, which will be played on the campus of Marquette University.
LA Galaxy Academy U-16 Roster for U.S. Soccer Development Academy Finals
GOALKEEPERS (2) – Grayson Cornwall, Josh McNeely
DEFENDERS (8) – Chris Antunez, Steve Copley, Cole Dimond, Sagar Jambusaria, Vincent Reyes, Matt Tilley, Ludwing Vargas, Ivan Vasquez
MIDFIELDERS (7) – Jose Avila, Sean Dhillon, Eric Gonzalez, Grady Howe, Axel Mendez, Drew Murphy, Willie Raygoza
FORWARDS (5) – Justin Dhillon, Kevin Labastida, Francisco Magallon, Jack McBean, Sebastian Velasquez
HEAD COACH – Kenny Arena
ASSISTANT COACH – Alex Yi
ATHLETIC TRAINER – Natasha Darbar
ACADEMY SENIOR DIRECTOR – Chris Klein