CARSON, Calif. (Wednesday, June 13, 2012) – The LA Galaxy Youth Academy continues to impress on all levels. On the heels of first place finishes of both the U-16’s and U-18’s in their respective Development Academy divisions, the U-12’s are pushing for a National Championship of their own. The Galaxy U-12 team will travel to Phoenix on Sunday for the US Youth Soccer Far West Regionals, a week-long tournament that begins on Monday, June 18. The team qualified by winning the CAL South National Cup in March.
The tournament in Arizona will not be an easy one for the young team. They will face circumstances they are not accustomed to in California.
“The biggest challenge there is the heat,” Galaxy U-12 assistant coach Billy Bizzaro said. “It’s looking to be about 105-110 [degrees] each day for the boys, so just keep them hydrated, keep them fresh. They play one game a day, so I think that will be our biggest challenge.”
In spite of this being the first time a Galaxy U-12 team will compete in the Far West Regionals, the boys have not shown any signs of nervousness during the run-up to the tournament, according to Bizzaro.
“This has been a pretty confident group from the get-go,” Bizzaro said. “They’ve had a lot of success throughout the year, but obviously winning the state championship builds on that and then if they win the regionals, that would just continue to build going forward for their success.”
The overall success of the Academy seems to have triggered a winning attitude. The U-16 and U-18 teams each won their U.S. Soccer Development Academy SoCal Division titles and have qualified for the playoffs. Last season, the U-16’s won the U.S. Soccer Development Academy National Championship while a U-17 Galaxy squad won the Generation adidas Cup for the first time last summer as well. If the U-12’s need inspiration, they do not need to look far for it.
“When your top teams in the Academy win, it’s contagious and it trickles down to everyone else,” Bizzaro said. “Everyone has that winning mentality and attitude and spirit.”
If the Galaxy U-12’s win in Arizona, they will earn a berth to next month’s US Youth Soccer National Championships in Rock Hill, S.C.
ACADEMY PLAYOFFS DRAW TO BE HELD MONDAY: U.S. Soccer will hold the Development Academy Playoffs draw on Monday at 7 a.m. (PT). The Galaxy U-16’s and U-18’s both won the SoCal Division two weeks ago on the last day of their regular season schedule. The results of the draw will be announced in real time on the official U.S. Soccer’s Youth National Team twitter feed @ussoccer_ynt. This season, the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Playoffs will be held in Dallas from June 25-29. The finals will be played in Houston from July 16-23, with the championship matches taking place at BBVA Compass Stadium.
MUÑOZ CALLED UP TO U-17 NATIONAL TEAM: LA Galaxy U-16 midfielder Rolando Muñoz was called up today to the U.S. U-17 National Team by head coach Richie Williams for the Copa Saprissa Internacional tournament in San Jose, Costa Rica. The U.S. will start training for the tournament in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., from June 17-21 prior to traveling to Costa Rica. The U.S. are scheduled to play up to seven matches during the 12-team tournament, beginning on June 23 against Linafa U-17 Select, a club team from Costa Rica. Other opponents the U.S. will face are Honduras, Costa Rica, Chorrillo FC from Panama and Mexico as well as two possible playoff or friendly matches on June 29 and July 1.
The Galaxy U-16 captain, Muñoz has been successful with both the U-16’s and the U-18’s this season. A native of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., Muñoz appeared in 21 games in Development Academy play this season, scoring four times, including once in the U-18’s 5-0 win over Nomads SC last weekend as they clinched the SoCal Division title.
VERGARA AND ROMERO CALLED UP TO U-15 NATIONAL TEAM: On Tuesday afternoon, Galaxy U-15 goalkeeper Abraham Romero and midfielder Alejandro Vergara were each named to the U.S. U-15 Boys’ National Team roster by Head Coach Tony Lepore for the Copa Mexico de Naciones tournament in Mexico City. The team, drawn into Group B, will face Colombia, Costa Rica and Spain, opening with Costa Rica on June 19 before facing Colombia on June 20 and then Spain on June 21. The top two teams from each of the tournament’s two groups will advance to the semifinals, which will be played on June 22, with the final scheduled for June 24.
Romero, who was born in 1998, is the youngest player on the team. Vergara helped the U.S. U-15 Boys’ National Team finish fifth in the 23rd International Marveld Tournament in Groenlo, Holland earlier this month.