CARSON, Calif. (Wednesday, July 10, 2013) – U.S. Soccer announced on Tuesday that four LA Galaxy Academy players had been named to the 2012-13 U.S. Soccer Development Academy Starting XI. Defender Oscar Sorto and midfielders Raul Mendiola and Drew Murphy were named to the Western Conference Under-17/18 Starting XI while forward Steve Martinez earned similar honors for the Western Conference Under-15/16 Starting XI.
For Sorto, 18, this is the second consecutive season he has earned a place in the Development Academy U-17/18 Starting XI. Sorto was one of just two players from last year’s Starting XI to also be named to the team this season. The Los Angeles-native recently represented the U.S. at the FIFA U-20 World Cup, where he played in two of the three games the U.S. played in the tournament, collecting an assist in the team’s 4-1 loss to Ghana. Signed as a Homegrown Player by the Galaxy in December 2012, Sorto played in 17 games with the U-18’s this season, anchoring a defense that finished the season with a Division-best 37 goals-allowed and also contributing to the attack with three goals of his own.
Mendiola, 19, averaged a goal every two games this season while leading his club to 20-7-4 record and a second consecutive Southwest Division title. Born in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Mendiola finished second in scoring on the team this season with 13 goals in 26 games. This is the third time he has been named to a Development Academy Starting XI. Prior to joining the Galaxy Academy he was named U-16 Development Academy Player of the Year in 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 while playing for Arsenal.
The captain of the Galaxy U-18’s for much of the season, Murphy, 19, scored four goals in 22 games while missing the final month of the year with a knee injury. A native of Palos Verdes, Murphy was in his fourth year with the Galaxy Academy, making him one of the longest tenured players in the Academy. A member of the Galaxy Academy U-16 team that captured the 2010/11 Development Academy National Championship, the UC Santa Barbara-bound midfielder also scored goals against Eintracht Frankfurt and Fulham FC in the Gordon Jago Super Group at Dallas Cup 2013.
Martinez, 17, was the lone Galaxy player named to the Under-15/16 Western Conference Academy Starting XI. The forward closed out the regular season ranked fourth in the nation with a team-best 18 goals in 20 games on the season, including a season-high four goals in the Galaxy’s 5-0 win over Cal Odyssey on March 17. Martinez missed three months in the middle of the season due to high school commitments, but still managed to finish the year as the only U-16 player with 10 or more goals. The Galaxy U-16’s did not advance to the playoffs as they finished the season with a record of 7-13-8, but Martinez was named to the club’s U-18 roster for the Development Academy Playoffs, coming off the bench for the Galaxy in all three games that they played.