CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy have made massive strides in youth development in recent years and last week, the club took another leap forward with the signing of Academy standout Ethan Zubak to LA Galaxy II.
Zubak, an 18-year-old Corona-native, joins Galaxy II after a prolific career with the Galaxy Academy. By signing for Los Dos, Zubak became the first player to participate in the new LA Galaxy Academy Blended Learning Environment to sign a professional contract with the club.
For Vice President of Soccer Operations Peter Vagenas, Zubak’s signing is a testament that the Galaxy’s player development pyramid is working.
“I think that it is a tangible example that the process is working. Ethan has been a member of our academy for some time now,” Vagenas told LA Galaxy Insider. “Any time that you watch one of your own homegrown players sign a contract, it’s a special moment, not only for Ethan and his family but for us as a club. The continued emphasis on youth development is paramount within our club, and it’s an exciting moment for everyone involved.”
After leading the Galaxy U-18’s in scoring with 13 goals in 21 appearances during the 2015-2016 season, Zubak has enjoyed a strong first season with Galaxy II. Frequently used as a substitute by head coach Curt Onalfo, Zubak has notched one goal in eight appearances for the USL side.
The teenager put in another strong shift on Sunday when he nodded a Raul Mendiola cross to Dave Romney for the equalizer that helped LA Galaxy II earn a 1-1 draw with Seattle Sounders FC 2. Whether it’s through his hold up play, his skill on the ball or his ability to unlock a defense with a killer pass, the Galaxy believe that Zubak has the potential to become a top player.
“When you’re talking about players and player profiles and the types that you want to progress through, intelligence is a key factor. Ethan does have a lot of physical qualities that separate him,” Vagenas said. “He’s got an incredible desire and perseverance to continue to get better. By no means is he the finished product, he’s very much still I the phase of growing as a player, but this is a major step for him and a proud moment for us.”
Zubak’s addition to Galaxy II is the latest in a long line of Galaxy Academy players signed to either the first or second team. At present, 16 players within the system have graduated from the Academy.
With more players hungry for an opportunity to shine at the professional level like Zubak, Vagenas feels that even better days are ahead for the Galaxy.
“In relative terms, development in this country is still in its infancy. We’ve come a long ways in short time. We’ve made immeasurable strides. We’re heading in the right direction, but of course, there’s going to be new blood coming in from our foundation,” Vagenas said. “Their job is to challenge the players in front of them, pass them if they can and make it into our first team. It’s an interesting look at it. We’ve done a good job up to this point, but I firmly believe that the best days are ahead of us.”