CARSON, Calif. (Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013) – Twelve former LA Galaxy Academy players will be in action in the 2013 NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament that kicked off around the country on Thursday.
Half of dozen former Academy stars play for top-seed UCLA, which features six former Galaxy Academy alumni on their roster and earned a first-round bye in the tournament. The Bruins will host Thursday night’s Elon-Clemson winner on Sunday, Nov. 24 at Drake Stadium.
The sextet is led by sophomore midfielder Grady Howe (Pictured above, No. 4), who led the Bruins in appearances this season with 19, including a team-high 16 starts. Since Howe made the move to Westwood, the Newport Beach-native has featured in every single match since his arrival, helping the Bruins record six shutouts this season. The midfielder was also honored as a member of the first-team Pac-12 All-Academic Team. Defenders Nathan Smith and Javon Torre (Pictured above, No. 2) also earned playing time as part of head coach Jorge Salcedo’s back four. As a freshman, Smith made 14 appearances with 13 starts and even added on a goal and two assists in 2013. Torre appeared in 13 games while earning the start in seven for the Blue and Gold as a sophomore. In goal, sophomore Juan Cervantes was 3-0-1 in four starts including two shutouts with a 0.91 goals against average and 16 saves. Freshman midfielder Brian Iloski tallied a goal and an assist in seven starts while fellow freshman midfielder Willie Raygoza made a pair of appearances.
UC Santa Barbara features a pair of Galaxy Academy players, both freshman and both starters. The Gauchos enter the tournament as the 10th seed and will play the winner of Penn State-St. Francis, Brooklyn on Nov. 24 at Harder Stadium. Midfielder Drew Murphy made 19 starts for UCSB in 2013, netting a goal and contributing eight assists. Goalkeeper Josh McNeely found himself as a regular in net, having started every game for UCSB since Sept. 17. During that 18-game stretch, McNeely had an 11-3-4 record with six clean sheets and finished the season with a 0.82 goals against average.
UC Irvine also earned a bye in the first round. They head into the NCAA Tournament as the 12th seed after winning a fourth Big West tournament title in six years and will face the winner of Thursday’s University of North Carolina-South Florida match on Nov. 24 at Anteater Stadium. The lone Galaxy Academy alum on the roster is sophomore defender Matt Tilley. The Irvine-native did not make any appearances for the Anteaters in 2013.
The other team that features LA Galaxy Academy alumni on their roster is Loyola Marymount, which begins its postseason push in Palo Alto, Calif. against Stanford on Thursday night at 7 p.m. Senior forward Christian Alvarado saw the most minutes with 19 appearances, 15 of which were in the starting XI, and contributed an assist for the West Coast Conference Champions. Redshirt senior Billy Thompson made three starts in goal for the Lions, posting a 1.13 goals-against average with a 2-0-1 record. Vince Paldino, a redshirt sophomore goalkeeper, did not feature in any games for LMU this season.
GALAXY ACADEMY U-18’S ENJOYING TIME OFF: The LA Galaxy U-18’s have another weekend off to recharge their batteries before returning to USSDA action on Saturday, Nov. 30. The team last took the field on Nov. 10 for a 2-2 draw against third-place Real So Cal at Oak Park High School. Head coach Ante Razov’s squad had to overcome a 2-0 deficit to earn a hard fought point on the road. Adonis Amaya netted his team-best ninth goal of the season in the 65th minute, cutting the Real So Cal advantage in half. Jaime Villarreal scored the equalizer in the 79th to seal the stalemate. With the draw, the U-18’s claimed top spot in the Southwest Division of the Western Conference with a 5-1-2 record for 17 points. After two consecutive weekends off and having maintained a three-game unbeaten run, the team returns to league action on Saturday, Nov. 30 against Nomads SC at the University of California-San Diego for their final league matchup of the calendar year in Development Academy play. Nomads are currently in fourth place in the standings, posting a 3-3-1 record for 10 points and a +1 goal differential compared to the Galaxy’s league-leading +15. LA also lead the league in goals scored with 25, averaging more than three per game. Prior to the start of the winter break, the club will travel to Florida to take part in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Winter Showcase from Dec. 11-14. There, the Galaxy will play three games, facing Players Development Academy from New Jersey on Dec. 11, FC Dallas Academy on Dec. 12 and the Chicago Fire Academy on Dec. 14.
GALAXY ACADEMY U-14’S CRUISE TO WEEKEND WINS: The LA Galaxy U-14’s had a massive weekend that was highlighted by a 10-0 thrashing of Diablo Futbol Club on Sunday in USSDA play. Noa Harrison led the charge with four goals, all of which came in the opening 25 minutes of the match. Harrison now leads the team with nine goals on the season. After Harrison opened up the scoring in the eighth and ninth minute to give the Galaxy a 2-0 advantage, Jose Sosa and Marc Farias each scored their first goals of the season in the 13th and 15th minutes respectively to double the early Galaxy lead. Harrison tacked on his third in the 18th minute followed by Salvador Segura finding the back of the net in the 24th. One minute later, Harrison added his fourth and final goal of the afternoon which was shortly followed up by Sosa in the 28th minute for his second score, lifting the U-14’s to an 8-0 first half lead. The Galaxy attack was far from finished entering the second half with Ateno Ajeakwa netting a 52nd minute strike for his fourth of the USSDA campaign. The U-14’s would hiit double digits in the 75th when Jose Ortiz scored to round out the scoring in LA’s 10-0 victory. One day earlier, head coach Greg Vanney’s team breezed past De Anza Force, winning 5-1 at StubHub Center. Jesus Nunez made an early impact with a second minute score but the visitors equalized when Arda Bulut found the back of the net in the 24th. Ajeakwa restored the U-14 lead in the 37th minute for a 2-1 advantage that the Galaxy took into the half. Ten minutes after the break, Hanif Wright scored his eighth goal of the season and in the 59th, Nunez doubled his daily tally to put the Galaxy U-14’s comfortably up 4-1. Ajeakwa sealed the 5-1 win for the home side with a 71st minute strike. Following the 15-goal weekend, the U-14’s extended their unbeaten run to four games and have outscored their opposition 22-3 in the month of November. With an 8-1-1 record, the squad travels to face FC Golden State at University of California-Riverside on Saturday at 10 a.m.
FOUR PLAYERS NAMED TO USSDA SHOWCASE GAMES: LA Galaxy Academy U-16 players Alex Ramos, Jorge Ruiz, Bennett Sneddon and Ethan Zubak were named this week to the U.S. Soccer Development Academy select games that are taking place during next month’s Winter Showcase in Bradenton, Fla. The quartet has been a big part of the Galaxy Academy U-16’s hot start to the season. The Galaxy are currently in first place in the SoCal Division with an overall record of 6-0-3 for 21 points. They are also first in the division in defense with only three goals allowed and second in the division in scoring with 24 goals scored. The Galaxy do not have a game this weekend, but return to action Saturday, Nov. 30 with a road game against Nomads SC at 5:30 p.m. at University of California-San Diego.
ROMERO AND WRIGHT SHINE IN U.S. U-17 FRIENDLY AGAINST CANADA: LA Galaxy Academy Under-17 goalkeeper Abraham Romero and forward Haji Wright both played a big role in the U.S. Under-17 National Team’s 3-0 victory over Canada’s U-17 last Saturday at LockHeart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Romero played the full 80 minutes to record the shutout and Wright scored a goal and added an assist in 70 minutes of action. Wright’s goal came in the 68th minute and was the game-winner. His assist came a minute later when he set up Joe Gallardo in the 69th minute as the U.S. took a 2-0 lead. In the 74th minute, the U.S. added a third goal to make it 3-0. The following day the U.S. beat Canada 2-0 in the second of two friendlies played over the weekend, with neither Romero nor Wright playing in that game. The games served as tune ups for next month’s Nike International Friendlies, which are taking place during the Development Academy Winter Showcase in Lakewood, Fla., where the U.S. will face Brazil, England and Portugal. Those games serve as preparation for next year’s CONCACAF U-17 Championships, which is the qualifying tournament for the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile.
U-16 B’S AIM TO CLOSE OUT SEASON ON A HIGH NOTE: The LA Galaxy Academy U-16 B’s continue to cut their teeth playing a year up in SCDSL play and will look to bounce back following last weekend’s 4-1 defeat to Santa Barbara SC White. The Galaxy U-16’s will look to end the season with a win as they host Beach FC on Saturday at 12:45 p.m. at El Segundo High School. Heading into the final weekend of SCDSL play, the Galaxy have a record of 3-5-1 for 10 points. Beach FC, who were blanked last weekend 2-0 by Strikers FC – Irvine Peiffer Black, currently posts a 4-4-1 record for 13 points. The Academy U-16 B’s have a -2 goal differential compared to Beach FC’s +11 so in order for the Galaxy to jump the visitors in the standings they will need to win by a seven-goal margin.
U-14 B’S SPLIT WEEKEND SERIES: The LA Galaxy Academy U-14 B’s rebounded from an early November loss by picking up three well deserved points over the weekend. On Saturday, the team earned their first clean sheet of the SCDSL season with a 1-0 road win over San Diego Surf Boys Academy I at the San Diego Polo Fields. The following day, the squad traveled to Sotomayor High School where Los Angeles Futbol Academy dealt head coach Ted Eck’s team a 3-0 loss. With only one game remaining on the 2013 schedule, the Galaxy Academy U-14 B’s own a 2-5-2 record for eight points. The team has a chance to play the role of giant-killer to close out the season on Saturday when they host FC Golden State PDA at El Segundo High School at 9:35 a.m. FC Golden State PDA has a 7-1-1 record for 22 points and have netted the second-most goals in the league with 30.
U-12 NORTH AND SOUTH EXTENDS UNBEATEN RUNS: The LA Galaxy Academy U-12 teams continued their undefeated run of form following impressive wins in SCDSL play over the weekend. The LA Galaxy Academy U-12 South registered a third consecutive clean sheet following a pair of victories at Chaffey College on Saturday and Sunday. The squad earned a convincing 7-0 road win on Saturday over a FC Golden State Gold team that has now surrendered a league-high 51 goals. The U-12 South side followed up their stellar performance by dealing FC Golden State PDA their first loss of the season with a 2-0 win and leapfrogging them in the league standings. Currently in second place with an 11-0-2 record for 35 points and the only team in the league to net over 50 goals on the season, the LA Galaxy South trail San Diego Surf Academy I by one point but have a game in hand heading into the final weekend of play. The Galaxy Academy U-12 North side also earned a third consecutive shutout victory over the weekend following a 4-0 win at home over FC Los Angeles Black on Saturday. The next day, the squad played out a 1-1 draw against Los Angeles Futbol Academy Black at North Torrance High School Stadium to lift their overall record to 8-1-4 for 28 points. Heading into the closing fixtures of the season, the Galaxy Academy U-12 North and South sides will face one another on Saturday at 10:50 a.m. at North Torrance High School Stadium. The two teams last went head-to-head in mid-September with the South side pulling out a narrow 1-0 win, dealing the North team their lone loss of the season. A win for the North team will propel them into fourth place and a win for the South squad will guarantee a first place finish.
STAY CONNECTED: To get the latest information about the LA Galaxy Academy and its teams, follow the club on twitter @LAGalaxyAcademy or on Facebook at Facebook.com/LAGalaxyAcademy. Schedule changes, score updates and news and insights are all provided via those accounts.
THIS WEEK’S SCHEDULE
LA Galaxy Academy U-14’s @ FC Golden State (Saturday, Nov. 23)
Game will be played at University of California, Riverside at 10 a.m.
LA Galaxy Academy U-16 B’s vs. Beach FC (Saturday, Nov. 23)
Game will be played at El Segundo High School Field #1 at 12:45 p.m.
LA Galaxy Academy U-14 B’s vs. FC Golden State (Saturday, Nov. 23)
Game will be played at El Segundo High School Field #1 at 9:35 a.m.
LA Galaxy Academy U-12 South vs. LA Galaxy Academy U-12 North (Saturday, Nov. 23)
Game will be played at North Torrance High School Stadium Field at 10:45 a.m.
Times and locations for all games are correct as of Tuesday, Nov. 19. Click here for a complete schedule of games in the Southern California Development Soccer League and U.S. Soccer Development Academy, which includes the Galaxy Academy’s U-12, U-14, U-16 and U-18 teams.