CARSON, Calif. (Tuesday, December 17, 2013) – LA Galaxy Academy forward Haji Wright finished as the tournament’s top goal scorer, leading the U.S. Under-17 National Team to a championship at the Nike Friendlies in Lakewood Ranch, Fla. After scoring once in a tournament opening loss to Portugal, Wright added a pair of goals in a 5-1 win over England before scoring twice more in a 4-1 win over Brazil to give the U.S. their second title at the competition in the last three years. A native of Los Angeles, Wright played all but four minutes at the tournament, leading the U.S. to a 2-1-0 record for six points, leaving them two points ahead of Brazil and Portugal for the title.
After scoring seven times for the Galaxy U-16’s in the 2012/13 U.S. Soccer Development Academy season, his first with LA, Wright was named to the U.S. Under-17 National Team Residency Program in September. He has appeared in seven games for the U-17’s since then, scoring nine times.
Wright’s former team, the Galaxy U-16’s, also enjoyed a successful trip to Florida where they went a perfect 3-0-0 at the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Winter Showcase, which was also held in Lakewood Ranch, Fla. The Galaxy opened the Showcase with three different players scoring in a 3-1 win over the Capital Area RailHawks Academy. Dylan Smith and Daniel Huizar each scored in the first half for Mike Munoz’s squad while Adrian Vera added a third after the half to round out the win on Thursday. The following day, Vera scored once and Jorge Ruiz scored twice in the second half of a 3-1 win over the Houston Dynamo. LA rounded out their Florida trip on Sunday, beating FC Dallas 5-2. Smith scored four times in that game while Ethan Zubak added a goal, helping the Galaxy extend their unbeaten streak to 13 games to open the 2013/14 season. The U-16’s are 9-0-4 on the season, outscoring opponents 40-12.
The Galaxy U-18’s also played three games at the Winter Showcase, going 1-2-0 in those contests. Ante Razov’s squad opened their Florida trip with a 2-0 win over Players Development Academy with goals from Jaime Villarreal and Christian Chavez. One day later, LA suffered a reverse of that scoreline, falling 2-0 to FC Dallas. The U-18’s then rounded out the Showcase, and the year, with a 3-1 loss to the Chicago Fire. Adonis Amaya gave the Galaxy a 1-0 lead after just two minutes, but the Fire would score twice to take a 2-1 lead into the half before adding a third to complete the win. The Galaxy U-18’s close out 2013 with a 7-3-2 record so far this season, outscoring opponents 31-15.
The Galaxy Academy will return to action in U.S. Soccer Development in mid-January with the U-18’s returning to action on Sunday, January 19 away to Pateadores while the U-16’s are back in action a week later when they host San Juan Soccer Club at StubHub Center. The U-14’s are scheduled to return to action on March 1 against Central California Aztecs.