CARSON, Calif. – The talent well produced by the rich Southern California soccer market is continuing to be tapped by the LA Galaxy.
On Thursday, the Galaxy inked two new Homegrown Players, Raul Mendiola and Bradford Jamieson IV, just hours apart from one another. With the signings, the Galaxy have now signed a total of seven Academy players in their history, which is tied for second in MLS with the Columbus Crew. FC Dallas have signed a total of 11 since the Academy’s inception.
Mendiola, 19, is a three-time Development Academy Starting XI selection and two-time U.S. Developmental Academy Player of the Year, who made nine appearances with the Galaxy Reserves a year ago. The attacking midfielder has split this preseason between the LA first team and LA Galaxy II.
“It’s been a long journey and I thank everyone that supported me on the way,” Mendiola told LAGalaxy.com. “This is just the beginning and I know that I still have to work but I’m excited to get to this point and be part of this team.”
Not to be outdone, Jamieson brings his own shining resume.
A one-time NSCAA All-American selection, the 17-year-old Jamieson completed four semesters with the U.S. Under-17 team and made three appearances for the Galaxy reserve team in 2013. This season, Jamieson has made 11 appearances for the Galaxy U-18’s in U.S. Soccer Developmental Academy play, tallying three goals.
Jamieson has been a regular contributor for the Galaxy first team during the preseason with four appearances.
“This is just the start,” he said. “I was barely scratching the surface and, yes, I broke out of the youth system, but now I’m right back to the bottom and I have to earn my way to the top again.”
The attacking outside midfielder also holds another interesting distinction as the first Homegrown signing in club history that is younger than the team itself. The Galaxy Academy product was born on October 20, 1996, just two days before the LA played in the inaugural MLS Cup against D.C. United at RFK Stadium.
“It’s a good sign for MLS that we’re now signing players that are younger than the league itself. That’s a great sign. We hope that it will continue,” said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena who led DCU to 3-2 victory over the Galaxy in the 1996 MLS Cup.
Where the former U.S. youth international fits in the Galaxy’s system still remains to be seen, but Arena believes that he should receive minutes no matter where he’s placed.
“We think that he’s a fine young talent,” Arena added. “We think that he has a good future and he has a great opportunity with the Galaxy and Galaxy II to develop over the next couple of years and chase his dream of playing for the Galaxy.”