LA Galaxy Academy connections aplenty in NCAA Tournament

CARSON, Calif. – The road to the 2013 College Cup kicks off on Thursday and there will be a sizeable LA Galaxy Academy presence when the tournament begins.

There is a sizeable Galaxy contingent on Loyola Marymount who will take on Stanford after winning their first outright West Coast Conference Championship. The Lions face Stanford in Palo Alto on Thursday evening at Sunday.  LMU boast three LA Galaxy Academy players Christian Alvarado, Vince Paldino, and Billy Thompson. Of the three players Alvarado is the lone major contributor as he made 19 appearances with 15 starts and one assist for the Lions in 2014.

Meanwhile, several LA Galaxy Academy players will be suiting up for teams with first-round byes. U.C. Irvine, who have sophomore defender Matt Tiley on their roster will face the winner of North Carolina vs. South Florida on Nov. 24 at Anteater Stadium in Irvine. No. 10 U.C. Santa Barbara who boast midfielder Drew Murphy and goalkeeper Josh McNeely will return to action on Nov. 24 against the winner of Penn State vs. St. Francis Brooklyn. Murphy made 19 appearances earning one goal and eight assists while McNeely has played 18 games while starting every match in goal for the Gauchos since Sept. 13.

Lastly, No. 1 UCLA take on the winner of the Elon vs. Clemson match on Nov. 24 at Drake Stadium. The Bruins have six former Galaxy academy players in goalkeeper Juan Cervantes, defenders Javan Torre and Nathan Smith, and midfielders Grady Howe, Brian lloski, and Willie Raygoza. Howe leads all Galaxy academy alums in appearances for the Bruins by making 18 appearances in his sophomore season. Meanwhile, Smith made 14 appearances earning 13 starts tallying one goal and two assists while Torre made 13 appearances in 2013. Raygoza, IIoski and Cervantes each tallied less than eight appearances for the Bruins.