Few clubs in American soccer are as polarizing as the Los Angeles Galaxy. The Galaxy have experienced lots of success both on and off the field. Few clubs have been as successful in graduating players from their academy to their first team. Jose Villarreal (’93), Jack McBean (’94) and Gyasi Zardes (’91), Oscar Sorto (’93) all currently play for the first team. Long time USSDA star Raul Mendiola (’94) is playing with the Galaxy reserve side. While others, such as Paul Arriola (’95 – Tijuana) are starring with other squads.
Some have been critical of the Galaxy claiming they do not develop their talent despite enormous resources. These critics claim Galaxy poach the top players off other clubs and pass them off as ‘Galaxy products’.
Whatever the case may be the Galaxy enter this USSDA season again one of the most talked about and talented rosters in the entire nation. One of the bigger moves within the USSDA was that of former Chivas USA coach Mike Munoz heading across to city to join up with the Galaxy. Munoz established himself as one of the best youth coaches in America, fostering deep relationships with a number of LA’s top players. He is also one of the better eye’s for talent. His move was followed by the movement of a number of top Chivas USA players including US youth national team players Adonis Amaya (’96) and Bradford Jamieson (’96), as well as UCSB recruit’s Axel Mendez (’96) and Jeffrey Quezada (’96) and UCLA commit Ryo Fujii (’96).
They will join up with established Galaxy star Jaime Villarreal (’95) who will be one of the top USSDA hit-men again. Jaime, the younger brother of First Team forward Jose, has been the target of a number of top Mexican youth teams, but has turned them down in hopes of making a name for himself with the Galaxy. Jaime has also indicated an interest to suit up for the USA but has not been called in to any camps. Another solid year for the Galaxy could see him force his way into the US U20 picture.
Another player the Galaxy will rely heavily on is Steve Martinez (’96). Martinez has spent time with US youth squads, and had an excellent season last year with the Galaxy U18s scoring 18 goals. The UCLA commit will be one of the top attacking midfielders on the west coast for years to come.
Another key addition is that of US U17 defensive midfielder Elijah Martin (’96). Martin plays the role so well he can likely be left alone in that spot which will allow a number of more talented Galaxy attackers to create.
With Munoz at the helm the Galaxy U16s might be one of the most dangerous clubs in terms of talent in the entire USSDA. Munoz is followed by US youth stars Malcolm Jones (’97), Bilal Abdallah (’97) and Jorge Ruiz (’97). This trio will lead the Galaxy along with Christian Segovia (’97), Adrian Vera (’97) and Ethan Zubek (’97) who joins the Galaxy from So Cal rivals Arsenal.
Munoz will also roll out a few ’99s with the U16s including goalkeeping prodigy Eric Lopez and striker Jesus Nunez. Both Lopez and Nunez will be big parts of US camps coming up. Lopez and Nunez too are like-for-like replacements for Hagi Wright (’98) and Abraham Romero (’98) who both left the Galaxy to join with US Residency in Florida. Wright and Romero will attend US Residency on a semester by semester basis but they will both likely be on the cusp of starting at Bradenton.
The U14 squad, like other Galaxy squads, boasts some of the top talent in the nation at this age level. US youth products Ateno Ajeakwa (’99) and Milan Illoski (’99) will be some of the names to watch. Also be on the look out for attacking dynamo Noa Harrison (’99). OWTY is also hearing real good things from Sergio Flores (’00) and Jacob Muchnick (’00)
Academy Star: Adonis Amaya (’96)
Academy Talisman: Steve Martinez (’96)
Academy Prospect: Jesus Nunez (’99)