Former LA Galaxy Academy defender Nathan Smith has returned to the Galaxy, foregoing his final season with the UCLA Bruins. The 21-year-old homegrown product joins after spending three seasons with UCLA.
“The return of one our coveted Homegrown Players back into our system is a significant moment for our club,” said LA Galaxy Vice President of Soccer Operations Pete Vagenas. “Nathan will now be positioned in the ideal environment to allow him to reach his fullest potential.”
Smith, a junior at UCLA from Clovis, Calif., will sign his first professional contract in place of playing his senior year with the Bruins. At UCLA, Smith earned Honorable Mention All-Pac-12 honors in his sophomore and junior years. In his junior year, Smith logged a team-high 1,744 minutes in 20 games helping UCLA to its 33rd straight NCAA tournament appearance.
“We have been tracking Nathan very closely and feel that now is the appropriate time for him to take that next step and become a professional,” said LA Galaxy Technical Director Jovan Kirovski. “We feel that he has a very high ceiling and look forward to assuring his potential is realized.”
Before joining UCLA, Smith spent time on the international scene with U.S. Soccer’s U-17 National Team, earning 23 caps. He competed for the U-17’s at the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup and later helped lead the team to the 2011 U-17 CONCACAF Championship where he scored the game-winning goal in the final against Canada.
In his time with the LA Galaxy Academy, Smith helped lead the U-17s to the 2011 Generation Adidas Cup while also earning time with the Academy’s U-18 team.
Los Dos will open the season against Arizona United SC on Saturday, March 26, at StubHub Center beginning at 7:30 p.m. PT. For tickets to the opening match, visit www.lagalaxy.com/2. LA Galaxy II single-game tickets are now on sale to the public. Fans can go to //www.lagalaxy.com/schedule/2 to purchase single-game tickets for the 2016 USL Regular Season. Los Dos tickets to each of the team’s 2016 home matches can be purchased for just $10. Home matches at StubHub Center feature free parking for attending fans on non-StubHub Center event days.