CARSON, Calif. (Tuesday, December 11, 2012) – The LA Galaxy announced today that the club has signed defender Oscar Sorto as the club’s latest Homegrown Player. A member of the LA Galaxy Academy’s U-18 team that captured the 2011-12 SoCal Division title, Sorto is the first defender to be signed directly from the Galaxy Academy and fourth player overall, joining forwards Jose Villarreal, who signed with the club in December 2011, Jack McBean, who signed in January 2011, and Tristan Bowen, who became the first player in MLS history to be signed directly from the club’s Academy as a Homegrown Player in November 2008.
“It is a dream come true to join a club like the Galaxy, a team I have been a fan of since I was kid,” Sorto said. “Growing up watching players like Mauricio Cienfuegos and Cobi Jones win championships motivated me to become a professional. I am very happy to now be able to represent my hometown like they did.”
A native of Los Angeles, Sorto trained with the Galaxy first team for most of the 2012 season and appeared in seven MLS Reserve League games in addition to his play with the Galaxy U-18’s. The 18-year-old started three of those seven games, collecting one assist in 339 minutes of play, setting up a Jack McBean goal in the 4-0 win over Portland on September 10. Sorto helped LA win the Reserve League’s West Division title for the first time in club history, guiding them to a 6-3-1 record for a Division-best 19 points.
Sorto, who graduated from Manual Arts High School in June, is in his second year with the Galaxy Academy, appearing in eight of the team’s 10 games so far this season, scoring three times and helping them to a Division-best 8-1-1 record. He joined the Galaxy Academy ahead of the start of the 2011/12 U.S. Soccer Development Academy season and played in 24 games for the Galaxy U-18’s that year, scoring one goal while leading the team to a 21-5-4 record and a berth in the Development Academy playoffs. Capable of playing anywhere in defense, Sorto was named to the Western Conference U-18 Academy Starting XI Team— joining Galaxy teammate Jose Villarreal on the squad.
After the Academy season was completed in July, Sorto traveled to Sweden to train with Hammarby of the Swedish Superettan, who are coached by former Galaxy defender Gregg Berhalter. Sorto trained with Hammarby for two weeks and played in two games with their U-21 squad. In April, he accepted a scholarship offer to attend Cal State University, Bakersfield before electing to pursue a professional contract.
“Oscar is the first defender that we have signed as a Homegrown Player and the latest example of the strength and depth of our Academy, which is quickly becoming one of the best Academy setups in the nation,” Galaxy Vice President Chris Klein said. “He has shown tremendous potential since joining our Academy last year and we are positive that he will continue to grow and improve as a player in the coming years.”
Prior to joining the Galaxy Academy, Sorto played for Pateadores, a club based in Costa Mesa, Calif., helping their U-18 squad win the Development Academy National Championship for the 2010/11 season. He played in 31 games for the club’s U-16’s and U-18’s that season, making 27 starts and scoring three goals while earning a berth on the Development Academy U-16 Starting XI, which was made up of the best players at their position from around the nation, and the West Conference Starting XI.