CARSON, Calif. – This preseason, LA Galaxy Academy star Paul Arriola has been given a chance to train alongside the Galaxy first team and the 17-year-old attacker is savoring every moment.
A member of the United States’ Under-17 squad that went to the U-17 World Cup in Mexico in 2011, Arriola made his debut for the Galaxy’s Developmental Academy team in October. In just five appearances with the Galaxy U-18’s, he notched two goals for the West Conference Southwest Division leaders.
After a successful season with the Academy, the San Diego native was invited to train with Liga MX title-holders Club Tijuana in late-December. That prepared Arriola for his next big chance, an opportunity to train with the Galaxy during their preseason preparations.
“It’s a good opportunity to play with the first team and I want to be here,” Arriola recently told LA Galaxy Insider. “I’m just going to try and take in as much as possible so that I can learn from the veterans and the guys coming out of college so it really is a learning experience, but at the same time I want to prove myself to show that I can make it to next level.
Placing Academy players amongst the first team is nothing new for the Galaxy as over the past year, Developmental Academy starlets Oscar Sorto, Raul Mendiola and others have trained with the Galaxy’s top squad. With many of his Academy alums now contributing valuable minutes to the Galaxy, Arriola believes that one day, he might be able to do the same.
“You look up to everyone here because they’re professionals, but especially Jack [McBean] and Oscar who came from the same position that I am and I know that I can make it,” said Arriola. “Every opportunity whether it’s somewhere else on a trial or with the national team, it’s always an opportunity to show yourself and show how good you are.”