Catching up with former LA Galaxy Academy defender Jeffrey Payeras

 CARSON, Calif. –Former LA Galaxy Academy player Jeffrey Payeras may be a key member of Guatemalan giants Municipal, but the defender believes that he gained plenty during his time with LA.

Payeras was a key member of the club’s academy and also played several games with the club’s reserve squad making his Reserve League debut in July of 2011. It was during his academy days with the Galaxy and youth club Pateadores that he became close friends with LA Homegrown players Oscar Sorto and Jose Villarreal, who also attended Amino Leadership High School.

The native of Hawthorne, California parlayed his success with LA’s Academy into a tryout and then deal with Municipal where he has the chance to play in the birth country of his parents.

Last week, Payeras spent a week with the U.S. Under-20 team during their camp at The Home Depot Center and drew high marks from head coach Tab Ramos.  The center back started in both scrimmages that the U-20’s held during the week with the first team and appears to be a contender to earn a spot at the 2013 World Cup in Turkey later this year.

During the camp, Payeras spoke briefly with LA Galaxy Insider and other reporters as he refelcted on his time with LA, his new experience in Guatemala and the U.S. U-20's.

The conversation with the Galaxy Academy alum is below…

(On how he got the call to the U.S. U-20 camp…)

PAYERAS: “I got the call up [in mid-April]. I’m very excited and very happy and all thanks to God because everything is happening right now and I got signed with my team over there in Guatemala and I got called up here. Now, I just want to work hard and hopefully become a part of the team.”

(On how he chose Municipal…)

PAYERAS:  “I went over in December and tried out for two weeks then they decided to sign me and offered me a contract so I decided to stay. Not only is my family from there, but I felt good staying there.”

(On whether he ever faced off against fellow Hawthorne native and Leuzinger High School grad Gyasi Zardes…)

PAYERAS: “No, I didn’t. He was a year younger than me. He went a different high school, but my brother played against him.”

(On how his game is growing in Guatemala…)

PAYERAS: “It’s a little bit different, but I’m just learning from the guys over there and the way that they play there.  It’s different to the way that we play here, but I’m just adapting and getting used to it.”

(On his conversations with head coach Tab Ramos…)

 PAYERAS: “We haven’t really talked, but he told us about the tournament and hopefully I’m a part of the team.”

(On whether coming to the Galaxy as a Homegrown Player was ever in option…)

PAYERAS: “I’m just happy that I was with them when I was and if it would have happened then I would have been excited too, but I’m excited where I am right now.”

(On what he gained with the LA Galaxy Academy…)

 PAYERAS: “You learn from professionals and I learned how they played and being professional as a person on the field and off the field.”

(On his living experience in Guatemala…)

PAYERAS: “I have an apartment and I live with three teammates over there. It’s good. It’s 10 minutes away from the training facility and it’s good. It’s in the city.”

(On where his family is from in Guatemala…)

PAYERAS: “They’re from a city called Santa Rosa, which is an hour and a half away. I visit there every once in a while. my dad was there this past month and my uncle’s and my grandma are there.”

(On his thoughts about coming to MLS…)

PAYERAS: “It’s up to what happens in the future. I would love to be here in the U.S.A and play here, but for now I’m over there and who knows if the opportunity comes then I would love to.”