CARSON, Calif. – There was a time when youth players in the U.S. turned to the U.S. U-17 Residency program to develop the best and brightest, but according to LA Galaxy Technical Director Jovan Kirovski, those days may be coming to a close.
On Wednesday, the club announced the creation of a USL PRO team LA Galaxy II which will serve as yet another path to develop young players for LA’s first team. During my Q&A with Kirovski – who was one of the spearheads of the USL PRO project — for LAGalaxy.com, the Technical Director was asked about whether the Galaxy Academy could one day surpass the development that players receive at residency.
“We’re at that stage now. We feel like we have quality coaches who are just as good if not better than [Bradenton], we have a USL team that no one has. With young kids, it’s better to be at home and be close to your family. When I left to go to Europe, I had nothing like this,” Kirovski told LA Galaxy Insider. “Now we have coaches in place, we have teams in place, and just a place to develop young local kids to be close to their family. It’s an ideal set up and way different than before. Back then, going to Europe made sense, but now, I’m not so sure.”
And Kirovski was quick to note that it is the league’s development that is the reason that players of all age are choosing to stay in the U.S. rather than head to Europe.
“We’re moving forward,” said Kirovski. “If you look at how far we’ve come in the last 10 years in terms of the fan support in places like Seattle, Portland and L.A., the new clubs coming in, the resources put into Academies league wide and companies like AEG investing in the USL PRO team and the Academy. We’re moving forward. It’s still going to take time, but we’re going in the right direction.”