A homegrown from Lakewood, California, Jalen Neal signed with the LA Galaxy Academy in 2016. He graduated to LA Galaxy II in 2020, and in 2021, Neal signed a first-team contract with the LA Galaxy.
In January, Neal made his first two appearances for the U.S. Men's National Team against Serbia and Colombia in Los Angeles. His national team debut made him the youngest player in LA Galaxy’s history to start for the senior national team. We sat down to learn what drives him and how he is approaching the 2022 season.
On being a leader
I try to take that responsibility in being that young guide for younger kids because I didn't have that when I was a younger kid.
On staying involved in the community
I wasn't really seeing many young kids giving back, so that was my goal from when I signed my contract.
On his USMNT first cap
On the bus to the stadium, I was listening to music and I was just thinking of all the people who have helped me along the way. Like, the practices my mom would get me to, stuff my brother's done for me that he didn't have to, my younger siblings—how they supported me.
On his potential for a breakout season
Hard to tell what year could be my year—could be five years from now, 10 years from now, it could be this season, but it's all up to what I do on and off the field.