My feature story on the rise of LA Galaxy forward Jose Villarreal discusses how the teenager rose from Inglewood to becoming one of the Galaxy's key contributors in 2012.
However, there were plenty of great words said about Jose's story that couldn't make the story. Not to fear though because I can provide those words here on the LA Galaxy Insider blog.
Below are a series of quotes from Villarreal, Galaxy Associate head coach Dave Sarachan, South Bay Force head coach Todd Saldana and Galaxy Vice President Chris Klein on the youngster.
(On what people told him as he was growing up…)
VILLARREAL: "They just said that if I keep working hard and listen to my coaches that I would get far and I guess I did listen to my coaches."
(On his trials in Germany...)
VILLARREAL: "I was on trial in Germany, but I just wanted to come here and play for my home crowd and be close to my family. Then I got my chance to play with the Galaxy and now I’m very happy here."
(On the affect that Villarreal has on the Galaxy Academy…)
SARACHAN: “It’s massive, the way that this league is headed with the Academy structure and in the very big picture; this is what goes on around the world. So now, we feel that this radius around LA and north and south of LA has got so much talent, but they need to be trained and put in the right environment. These guys are testament to that, that in a professional environment they can thrive.”
(On the advantage of living in Inglewood for Jose…)
SALDANA: “One of the advantages for that for Jose is that he's played a lot of soccer. I wouldn't be surprised if he was playing a game with us and then playing with his older brother during the week playing pick up soccer. He's a kid that played so much because that's the environment that he grew up in. They toughen up a little younger; their dads are always trying to get them into their league and the next level of play once they show signs. That's the big advantage of Jose's play is that he has that street soccer mentality plus living where he grew up there was a league during the week and over the weekend where people were always asking him to play. I don't think that in the traditional soccer arenas, you see kids that grow up in that environment. They go to their weekly practice and league game, this is a guy that wasn't only seeking out soccer but had it available to him 24/7.”
(On how often that he stays in contact with Villarreal…)
SALDANA: “As often as possible...[recently], him and his mom came out to my U-14 boys practice and came by to say hello and were in semi regular contact, but most importantly right now I is checking in to see how he's doing.”
(On Villarreal's family...)
KLEIN: "His family is a very nice family. There's three brothers, we've had two of them that have come through our system. His younger brother (Jaime) is with him and with them, his parents are very supportive and they care a lot about their kids. It's one of the reasons that the two of them have been very successful soccer players because they have the family dynamic where they don't intrude, maybe. I think that's the best way to describe it and that's what [Jose] has."