Sorto heads to Sweden for training stint, Rodriguez joins German club

PORTLAND, Ore.—While the first team trains in Portland, a pair of LA Galaxy academy members are off to Europe—one for good.

Academy defender Oscar Sorto will join Swedish second division club Hammarby on a two week training stint. The centerback –who was recently named to the US Soccer Developmental Academy West Division Best XI—joins a club coached by former Galaxy centerback Gregg Berhalter.  Sorto made 24 appearances for the LA Galaxy U-17/18s as well as two in Reserve League play.

Meanwhile, Sorto heads to Sweden, his U-17/18 teammate, Mario Rodriguez has left the team to join German second division club 1. FC Kaiserslautern.  Rodriguez— who was named to the U.S. Under-20 team for the Milk Cup tournament and appeared in the 2011 U-17 World Cup—made 21 appearances for the Galaxy U-17/18 side scoring seven goals. Rodriguez also made two appearances for the Galaxy reserves.

Following the Galaxy’s victory over Portland on Saturday, I caught up with Galaxy Vice President Chris Klein to discuss the moves.  Klein, who served as the club’s Senior Director of the Academy before being named Vice President earlier this year also serves on the board of directors for the Swedish club.

Klein’s thoughts are below…

(On Sorto training at Hammarby)

“We just sent him over to Hammarby IF to train with Gregg [Berhalter], he’s one of the more promising players in our academy and with the relationship that we have with Hammarby, we thought it was good to get him over where while they’re on a break.  They have a three week break over there and he can train with their first team and we’ll see how he does.”

“He’s going to be there for two weeks. It’s a two week period and after that two week period, we’ll re-evaluate the next stage of his development. College is still an option, signing and possibly a loan agreement is an option as well.”

(On Mario Rodriguez signing in Germany…)

“Mario Rodriguez is a player that we were very high on, but at the end of the day, we can’t sign all these players and that is one of the downsides of our Academy. He got a better offer than we could give him in Germany so we hope he does well. The reality is that we don’t own these players and it’s tough to keep them under your umbrella.”

*INSIDER Note: Klein references college being an option for Sorto; the centerback committed to CSU-Bakersfield in April.