Friday, March 27, 2009

Checking in With the Youth Academy

The LA Galaxy Youth Academy has begun the spring season of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy schedule and will be back in action this weekend with a pair of games at The Home Depot Center.

On Saturday the Galaxy will host Arsenal, one of the top clubs in Southern California, on Field #5. The U-16 game begins at 1 p.m. and the U-18 game starting at 3:15.

Both teams are back in action on Sunday, hosting FC Portland from Oregon. Those games be played on Field #7at The HDC, with the U-16 game starting at 11 a.m. and the U-18 game starting at 1 p.m.

All of these games are free and open to all fans.

Prior to Thursday night's training session, we caught up with a few of the players from both the U-16 and U-18 teams, as well as the Director of Player Development Trevor James to see what they thought of the team's progress, the level of play and training under the Academy coaches and staff, the first team's fightback from 2-0 down in the season opener and much more.

Here is what they had to say...

Galaxy Assistant Coach/Director of Player Development Trevor James (pictured with Billy Thompson at last season's signing day)

U-18 Goalkeeper Billy Thompson

U-18 Forward Dersu Abolfathi

U-16 Defender Drew Lind

U-16 Forward Eric Verso

U-16 Defender Jurgen Chambers (pictured with U-16 coach Steve Myles)

The U-16's, who are coached by Steve Myles, go into the weekend with a 5-2-1 record in the SoCal Division and a 10-5-2 mark overall. As it is the Division record that determines the standings in Development Academy play, the Galaxy currently sit in third place with 16 points, two points behind Arsenal and one point behind Nomads.

The U-18's are currently coached by Pomona College head coach Bill Swartz, who recently took over the job from Warren Barton, who left the organization. They enter the weekend with a 4-4-0 mark in the SoCal Division, leaving them with 12 points, eight points behind Division leaders LAFC Chelsea, and a 7-8-2 mark overall.

Follow these links to learn more about the U-16 team and the U-18 team. Additionally, be sure to stay tuned for the announcement of the Galaxy's U-20 team, which will again compete in the USL Super-20 League this summer.

Lastly, here are some more photos from Thursday's training session.

1 comment:

charlesj27 said...

Thanks again for the updates and coverage on LA Galaxy Youth Academy. I watched several of the Youth Academy games both last year and this year. These youth players are so hard working. That's the first thing people will notice. They really want to play games and want to get better and better. And, from the audio, it's obvious that the LA Galaxy Academy offers them professional environment and much higher training regimen. Real SoCal is one of the toughest clubs to beat - they are so strong, so coordinated, and so disciplined. That club team has a good regimen to teach their youth players, I'm sure. However, our Youth Academy will definitely meet or exceed many of the other associations and clubs, in time. This is why having the right coaching staff for these youth players is so, so important - also, why I stressed on trying to get Daniel Guzman to come and be a consultant and senior aide. One of the things that these youth players have to learn and understand is the discipline & coordination it takes to play the full-width "zig-zag" passing game. What we typically see in American soccer is very similar to that of English football - long balls and crosses to target forwards and attacking wingers. The problem is teams now have adjusted and accustomed to that and have players that can double/triple team in an instant. This is why learning to control, hold, fast-pass, "zig-zag" is so crucial for the posession and continuity of the game.
I wish our players lots of luck this weekend. Hope they win and bounce back in standings and confidence.