Expansive youth soccer development program key to how club will develop players in the future; South Bay Force and West Coast Futbol Club named founding members of Alliance

CARSON, Calif. (Tuesday, February 5, 2013) – The LA Galaxy announced today the formation of the LA Galaxy Academy Alliance, an extensive soccer development program that will be an integral part of the pathway to playing for the LA Galaxy Academy. The Academy Alliance, which is being created in association with youth club partners South Bay Force and West Coast Futbol Club, as well as adidas, will allow the Galaxy to better identify and develop the top young players throughout the Southland.

The Galaxy Academy is the official youth academy of the 2011 and 2012 MLS Cup champion LA Galaxy. In the past two years, the Galaxy have signed four players directly from the Academy as Homegrown Players, including forwards Jack McBean and Jose Villarreal, who have each already made their professional debuts and were members of the Galaxy’s MLS Cup winning side in 2012. Those two will be joined by fellow Homegrown Players Oscar Sorto and Gyasi Zardes in 2013 after each signed with the club in December 2012.

As the program grows, the Galaxy Alliance will become central to how the club integrates players into the Academy and maximizes their potential. At its core the Alliance will form the foundation of the Galaxy’s player pyramid, wherein affiliated youth clubs will provide players with the early foundations of the Galaxy technique and style of play. The clubs in the Alliance will share coaching resources, staff and best practices while working together to create a common curriculum and methodology for developing young players.

Each Galaxy Alliance club will house an Under-12 Galaxy Academy team that will be fully funded and fully supported by the Galaxy Academy and adidas, a partner of the Galaxy Academy since 2009, who will be providing Galaxy uniforms and equipment for each of the teams to use. Current Galaxy Alliance clubs are located in the South Bay and Orange County with most of those team’s training sessions being held locally in those regions. Once a week these teams will hold a combined training session at The Home Depot Center that will be led by LA Galaxy legend and Galaxy Academy Youth Technical Director Mauricio Cienfuegos.

“The LA Galaxy are committed to creating the best Academy system in the United States and the Galaxy Alliance will allow us to better identify and develop a greater number of players throughout the region,” said LA Galaxy President Chris Klein. “By aligning ourselves with some of the best youth soccer clubs in the region, we are in a position to create a central coaching philosophy and curriculum, allowing us to teach the finest youth soccer players in Southern California how to play the game the Galaxy way.”

The South Bay located Galaxy Academy team will be coached by South Bay Force director Todd Saldana with Ted Eck, who had been the head coach of the Galaxy U-12’s, as an assistant while the team in Orange County will be coached Braeden Cloutier, who had served as head coach of Galaxy U-13’s. The best players from the two U-12 teams will have the best opportunity to move up to the next Galaxy Academy team the following year. Starting this year, the Galaxy U-14’s will join the newly formed U.S. Soccer Development Academy U-14 league this fall. Similar to the Development Academy U-15/16 and U-17/18 leagues, the U-13/14 league will serve as the premier competition in the nation for that age group starting this fall. A partnership between U.S. Soccer and the top youth clubs in the country, the Development Academy’s philosophy is based on increased training, fewer games and a higher level of competition.

“The partnership will provide unparalleled opportunities for Orange County youth to reach new levels in the game, and possibly open doors for a select few to become professionals” said Oliver Wyss, Director of West Coast FC, which first partnered with the Galaxy Academy in January of 2012. “We are looking forward to increasing the quality of the talent in our program by implementing a unified philosophy and working on a common goal for all different age levels. This will create a pathway for WCFC players to join the LA Galaxy Academy with little or no adjustments to the style of play.”

The South Bay Force became the first local club to partner with the Galaxy, doing so in March 2011 and establishing the foundation for what has become the Galaxy Alliance. The partnership with South Bay Force and Saldana, a former head coach at UCLA, has helped to produce each of LA’s last three Homegrown signings with Sorto, Villarreal and Zardes all playing for the club prior to joining the Galaxy Academy.

“The partnership with the LA Galaxy has been very successful for South Bay Force as evident by the number of players we have helped to develop for the first team already,” said South Bay Force Director Todd Saldana. “We’re excited to be a part of the Galaxy Alliance and look forward to continuing to build our relationship with the LA.”

In addition to the local U-12 teams, the Galaxy Academy will also hold monthly clinics and identification camps in the local regions of the Galaxy Alliance clubs as another way to identify the top local players in those areas. Those clinics and camps will be conducted and overseen by the Galaxy Academy coaching staff.

“Our partnership with the LA Galaxy Academy Alliance provides a great opportunity for adidas to help top young athletes in Southern California grow and develop their soccer skills,” said Antonio Zea, director of soccer for adidas. “We share a long-term vision with the LA Galaxy and Major League Soccer to ensure our homegrown athletes have opportunities to play soccer at the highest level and to foster the next generation of American soccer stars.”

About LA Galaxy

The reigning MLS Cup champions, the LA Galaxy are currently playing their 18th season in Major League Soccer. One of the original 10 clubs in MLS, the Galaxy were founded in June 1994 before playing their first-ever game in April 1996. One of 19 teams in MLS, the Galaxy play all of their home games at The Home Depot Center, a 27,000 seat stadium that opened in 2003 on the campus of California State University – Dominguez Hills in Carson, Calif. A four-time MLS Cup champion in addition to their two U.S. Open Cup trophies and their CONCACAF Champions Cup title, the Galaxy boast a roster that features many of the biggest domestic and international stars in all of MLS. For more information about the club or to purchase tickets for any Galaxy home game, please call the 877-3GALAXY or visit the club’s official website

About South Bay Force

South Bay Force is a competitive club that develops some of the best players and teams in Southern California. These include some highly ranked older teams which represent some of the best teams of any club in the state. Our players have participated in US National Team camps and all major player identification programs, and numerous alumni are currently playing professionally or in college. Since spring 2010, three of our teams have appeared in national finals, and they've won two of them. The club’s staff consists of current and former MLS and NCAA coaches, former D-1 collegiate players, current and former Olympic Development Program coaches, and former professional players. All hold USSF coaching licenses and many hold the top "A" license.

About West Coast Futbol Club

West Coast Futbol Club (WCFC) has established itself as the premier boys and girls program in Orange County. In addition to 45+ competitive youth teams playing in the SCSDL, WCFC has a rich tradition of promoting players from their Youth Academy through the College and Professional level of play. With numerous alumni attending top college soccer programs, WCFC has also promoted players into National Team programs as well as professional teams here and abroad. WCFC won its first US Youth Soccer National Championship in 2009 and competes in most major tournaments and in the top college showcases in the US. WCFC has an experienced and USSF licensed staff with most of the coaches holding a USSF “A” license and having a background in the professional or college game.

About adidas

adidas is the global leader in soccer and partners with the world's greatest soccer clubs and federations including Chelsea FC, Real Madrid, AC Milan, Bayern Munich, Spain, Mexico, Argentina, Germany and Japan. adidas is an official partner of FIFA, UEFA, Major League Soccer and the Confederations of African Football. adidas sponsors world-class athletes like Leo Messi, David Beckham, David Villa, Kaka, Steven Gerrard, Xavi, Frank Lampard, Jozy Altidore, Brek Shea, Fredy Montero, Chris Pontius, Graham Zusi, Juan Agudelo and Omar Gonzalez, among others.

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