First, the flameout:
What does that mean?
From the (edited) press release:
LAFC will now be LAFC Chelsea and host Chelsea tournaments, training sessions and a player and coach exchange program. As a result of the partnership, LAFC Chelsea will offer more scholarships for young athletes with financial hardship. LAFC provides kids across Southern California and throughout the country the opportunity to play competitive soccer regardless of ability to pay club membership costs.
Chelsea FC Chief Executive Peter Kenyon said: “Our youth super club network is designed to support soccer development in the US. LAFC shares the same goal and has demonstrated rapid growth of their club and talent.
“Since its inception, LAFC has provided young athletes the opportunity to play competitive soccer through financial support. With our new partnership, we hope that the association with Chelsea can attract and leverage additional funding scholarships, helping to further develop the academy and club.
“Providing elite training for young talent is critical to the long-term development of the sport in America.”
The club will make its debut under the new LAFC Chelsea nameplate Saturday when its Under-16 and Under-18 teams take on the U.S. Youth National Teams.
LAFC President Don Sheppard said: “LAFC was created to provide an affordable option for skilled players to play top-tier club soccer. We’ve been able to reach out to economically disadvantaged communities to recruit some of the best talent in the US.
“For a world-renowned club like Chelsea to recognize our mission and be a part of it shows the caliber and quality of their organization and their commitment to develop US soccer.
“We are a young program and a partnership like this allows us to reach the next level on skill development, player participation and overall club exposure. We have a top-tier coaching staff and now with Chelsea our players will receive an international view of the game – something they may not have received otherwise.”
LAFC includes over 50 boys and girls teams with 800 players from ages eight to eighteen. Throughout the last year, the academy has placed seven players on US national team rosters.
LAFC is just three years old. Excellent article on the club by Sports Illustrated here.
The details on Saturday’s event here.
*The Ventura County Fusion also has tryouts Dec. 13-14.
*And for those already pining for summer, registration for the Southern California Beach Soccer Championships in May in Oceanside is open.
By the way, if you’re home for the holidays and need a soccer jolt, check out the Women’s Under-20 World Cup: at 1 p.m. it’s Norway-Brazil on ESPNU and Mexico-North Korea at 2 p.m. on Galavision.
The U.S.lost Wednesday 2-0 to China, BTW, although the team had already qualified for the quarterfinals. Next is England on Sunday.
Finally, here’s your gratuitous David Beckham mention of the day.
And here’s a gratuitous new David Beckham commercial (he doesn’t speak, much less rap and that’s really something to be thankful for.) Happy Thanksgiving.