LA Galaxy finalize roster with addition of world-class, homegrown talent

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (Tuesday, May 9, 2017) – In a historically-ambitious move, the LA Galaxy, with support from Herbalife Nutrition, have signed 20 new players at once for the club’s LA Galaxy Special Olympics Southern California (SOSC) Unified Team set to return to action for the 2017 season. Returning for a third-straight season, the team will compete against other MLS-affiliated Special Olympics Unified Teams throughout the year. This year, each athlete on the LA Galaxy SOSC Unified Team will be paired with an LA Galaxy, who will offer support, guidance and encouragement throughout the season.

Click here to view the roster

“The entire organization is excited to be able to sign so much talent to the Galaxy’s 2017 Special Olympics Southern California Unified Team,” said LA Galaxy General Manager Pete Vagenas. “These are some of the best players in the country, and they represent the Galaxy in every way. They are a very dedicated group, who work hard and never quit. We are excited to see them kick off their 2017 season on May 27 in San Jose.”

The players were officially announced in a signing ceremony that featured Vagenas, LA Galaxy Head Coach Curt Onalfo and LA Galaxy Captain Jelle Van Damme addressing the group. Additionally, the entire LA Galaxy roster greeted their new counterparts and provided them with their official team shoes following the ceremony provided by Adidas. Each LA Galaxy first-team player will serve as a mentor, guide and supporter to a specific unified teammate throughout the season. 

The players signed will attend regular practices starting this month at StubHub Center. The team will face off against the San Jose Earthquakes Unified Soccer team on Saturday, May 27 on the road at Avaya Stadium immediately following the LA Galaxy-San Jose Earthquakes contest that Saturday. The team will play in their second contest on Aug. 5 on the road against the Portland Timbers Unified Team before their final contest at StubHub Center, when they host the San Jose Earthquakes Unified Team on Sunday, Aug. 27 immediately following the LA Galaxy’s match vs. San Jose Earthquakes. Herbalife Nutrition will support the LA Galaxy SOSC Unified Team’s operations throughout the 2017 season as Dana Ryan, Herbalife Nutrition’s Senior Manager of Sports Performance and Education, will travel with the team to provide nutrition education and guidance.

"It is great to welcome these talented new players to the LA Galaxy Special Olympics Southern California Unified Team,” said Michael O. Johnson, chairman and CEO, Herbalife. “We are proud to support their season with the proper nutrition and fitness resources these players’ need to perform at their best.”

The LA Galaxy SOSC Unified Soccer Team Exchange program is a partnership between the LA Galaxy and Special Olympics Southern California that brings individuals with and without intellectual disabilities, ages 16-25, together as teammates to participate in unique training, competition and social experiences.

After participating in an open tryout earlier in the season, the 20 players were selected based on three criteria: (1) their ability to value and work with teammates of all abilities, (2) their commitment to the Play Unified experience and their teammates, and (3) their understanding of the game of soccer and its rules.

The goal of Unified Sports is to bring people with and without intellectual disabilities together to compete, learn and grow on the same team – as equals. Dedicated to promoting social inclusion through shared sports training and competition experiences, Unified Sports breaks down stereotypes about people with intellectual disabilities in a fun way. It was inspired by a simple principle: playing together is a quick path to friendship and understanding.

The 2017 LA Galaxy SOSC Unified Team schedule and roster are below. For more information, visit www.lagalaxy.com/unified/roster.

2017 LA Galaxy Special Olympics Southern California Unified Schedule

Date/Time

Opponent

Location

Saturday, May 27

9 p.m. PT

San Jose Earthquakes Special Olympics Unified Team

Avaya Stadium – San Jose, Calif.

Saturday, Aug. 5

Time TBA

Portland Timbers Special Olympics Unified Team

Adidas Village – Portland, Calif.

Sunday, Aug. 27

6 p.m. PT

San Jose Earthquakes Special Olympics Unified Team

StubHub Center – Los Angeles, Calif.

2017 LA Galaxy Special Olympics Southern California Unified Team

Number

First Name

Last Name

Age

Height

Position

Hometown

LA Galaxy Partner

3

Joshua

Wade

25

5' 8.5"

Midfield

Pasadena

Baggio Husidic

4

Giovanni

Martinez

17

5' 8"

Defense/Goalie

Huntington Park

Clement Diop

5

Josue

Foster

20

5' 5.5"

Defense

Los Angeles

Romain Alessandrini

6

Daniel

Garcia

20

5' 9"

Defense

Los Angeles

Dave Romney

7

Jose

Gomez

19

5' 6"

Midfield

Lynwood

Ashley Cole

8

Carlos

Arriaza

23

5' 7"

Midfield

Costa Mesa

Jon Kempin

9

Dauda

Opejin

18

5' 9"

Forward

Irvine

Ariel Lassiter

10

Carlos

Madrigal

18

5' 8"

Midfield

Huntington Park

Rafael Garcia

11

Josue

Garcia

22

5' 9"

Midfield

Norwalk

Jose Villarreal

12

Brianda

Rivera

19

5' 1"

Forward

Palmdale

Daniel Steres

13

Logan

Jones

20

6' 2"

Goalie/Forward

Simi Valley

Brian Rowe

15

Lauryn

De La Torre

22

5' 7"

Defense

Newbury Park

Bradford Jamieson IV

16

Demi

Tavarez

24

5' 8"

Midfield

Long Beach

Jack McBean

17

Armando

Guzman

20

5' 7"

Midfield

La Puente

Jermaine Jones

18

Oliver

Fiust

19

5' 4.5"

Midfield

Long Beach

João Pedro

19

Jose

Conde

20

5' 3"

Forward

Los Angeles

Giovani dos Santos

23

Matthieu

Nunez

18

5'

Defense

Los Angeles

Jelle Van Damme

26

Juan

Ortega

18

5' 9"

Defense

Hawthorne

Gyasi Zardes

28

Lauren Nicole

Hernandez

20

5.4"

Forward

Hacienda Heights

Nathan Smith

85

Armando

Saucedo

23

5' 8"

Defense

San Pedro

Jermaine Jones