Inglewood’s Villarreal living South Bay soccer dream with the Galaxy

Inglewood resident Jose Villarreal, 18, who still lives at home with his parents, has become the first South Bay native to join the South Bay-based Galaxy from the club’s youth academy.

He spent his first day on the job Monday, not so much overawed by training on the same field as the likes of David Beckham as shivering because of the torrential rain players endured.

“It was OK, but I couldn’t focus it was so cold out there,” he said. “It was raining. It was freezing. I couldn’t feel my hands.”

Welcome to the daily life of a soccer pro. With a locker right next to the absent Robbie Keane’s, it’s an existence Villarreal is still getting accustomed to.

He grew up cheering for his dad’s Mexican team, Cruz Azul, but started paying attention to the Galaxy and MLS when David Beckham signed five years ago.

“I’m pretty excited,” he said. “I’ve got a bunch of friends who are asking: ‘When is your jersey coming out?’ (he was assigned No. 33, incidentally.

“I get a lot of texts, a lot of Facebook messages, (asking) ‘how does it feel to be with Beckham?'”

His answer: Don’t know yet (Beckham introduced himself and that’s about it so far).

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About Nick Green

South Bay-based Los Angeles News Group soccer columnist and blogger Nick Green writes at the 100 Percent Soccer blog at and craft beer at the Beer Goggles blog at Cheers!