LA Galaxy II sign 15-year-old Westminster goalkeeper Eric Lopez to USL Pro contract

Galaxy2logoThe LA Galaxy reserve team made USL Pro history today by signing the youngest player in league history — 15-year-old Eric Lopez.

Lopez has progressed through the Academy ranks, making his debut for the club at age 13 and received his first U.S. call-up to the U-17 squad earlier this year.

“Eric is another example of the fully-realized player developmental system that the Galaxy have implemented,” said LA Galaxy Technical Director Jovan Kirovski. “We are excited to complete this deal and keep talented prospects like Eric within the Galaxy organization as their careers progress.”

Inglewood’s Jaime Villarreal is the only other homegrown player to sign a USL Pro contract with the LA Galaxy II.

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Monday Major League Soccer Rewind: Galaxy clinch playoff spot as Long Beach supersub Alan Gordon scores winner

Busy weekend?

Here’s your Monday cheat sheet to get you caught up on the MLS action: Striker Alan Gordon scored yet again for the Galaxy Saturday in Carson with an 83rd minute goal that beat Dallas, clinched a playoff spot and moved the club into a tie with Seattle for the MLS lead.

Next for the Galaxy: %:30 p.m. Sunday at StubHub Center against the New York Red Bulls.

The LA Galaxy II saw their season come to a close before a sold-out crowd in MLS-hungry Sacramento, while Chivas USA lost yet again before a capacity crowd in Toronto. The Goats didn’t even manage a shot on goal until the last 10 minutes of the game.

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Crowd of more than 20,000 expected Saturday in Sacramento as Galaxy II visit the Republic

hoffmanGalaxy II forward Chandler Hoffman, left, and the rest of LA’s young stars will find themselves playing before a packed house of more than 20,000 Saturday in Sacramento when they play the Preki-coached Republic.

It would be the second crowd over the 20,000 mark at Hughes Stadium this season. The Galaxy II (5-1-3) played before a crowd of around 400 in their last game, a midweek U.S. Open Cup encounter against an amateur team from Thousand Oaks.

Sacramento (3-3-1) handed the Galaxy II their only loss of the season so far by  a score of 3-0 earlier this season after the two teams also drew 1-1 in Carson.

Hoffman was named the USL Pro Player of the week after scoring two goals in two games.

The game is live on YouTube and the Galaxy’s web site.

Incidentally, the Galaxy II learned today they will play Seattle Sounders FC at StubHub’s track and field stadium in the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup if they defeat PSA Elite May 28 in the third round.

The senior Galaxy team, meanwhile, will play the winner of the Arizona United and Oklahoma City Energy FC cup tie.

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Former Chivas USA forward Braun returns to Carson to haunt LA Galaxy II

It figured.

Lightly regarded MLS reject Justin Braun may not have had a convincing top level career, but USL Pro appears just right after the former Chivas USA striker scored the Sacramento Republic’s inaugural goal in a 1-1 draw against the Galaxy II Saturday night at the StubHub Center track and field stadium.

A crowd of 1,085, including visiting Republic fans, watched former Chivas USA coach Preki almost steal a point against an old foe before sub Chandler Hoffman equalized late in the game.

“I thought on a better day we walk away with the three points,” Preki told the Republic website. “There is still a lot of room for improvement and I know that as the season goes we will get better and better.”

LA Galaxy II Starting XI (2)LA Lads: How many of the Galaxy II starting XI can you name? (Photo courtesy LA Galaxy).

LA Galaxy II lineup: Brian Rowe; Oscar Sorto, Daniel Steres (Kofi Opare 72’), Tommy Meyer, Logan Emory (Eder Arreola 88’); Aleksandar Đoković (Alejandro Covarrubias 61’), Rafael Garcia© (Bradford Jamieson IV 79’), Kenney Walker, Raul Mendiola; Charlie Rugg (Chandler Hoffman 55’), Jack McBean

The Republic returns to the South Bay April 7 to play a game at the same venue against Chivas USA reserves.

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The LA Galaxy and Chivas USA play road Major League Soccer games this weekend, but you can still watch the clubs play live in Southern California

USLPropromoThe Galaxy (0-1-0) play Real Salt Lake (1-0-1) in Sandy, Utah Saturday (live at 1 p.m. on NBCSN), while Chivas USA (1-0-1) play in Texas against 1-0-1 FC Dallas (streamed live here at 5:30 p.m. Saturday), but local fans can still watch the team’s play live and in person this weekend.

The Galaxy II play their inaugural USL Pro game against the newly-rebranded Orange County Blues at the track & field stadium on the Cal State Dominguez Hills campus.

Parking is free. USL Pro games will also be streamed live this season on YouTube.

From the USL pro press release:

The Galaxy II, led by Coach Curt Onalfo, will have a variety of talent at their disposal with Homegrown Players Jack McBean and Oscar Sorto set to compete alongside USL PRO veterans such as 2013 All-League selection Daniel Steres.

 

The Blues, meanwhile, enter with a good returning group that is led by forward Chris Cortez. The former Chivas USA forward, who had nine goals a season ago, is set to be joined in attack by new addition Gibson Bardsley, who arrives after an All-League season with the Dayton Dutch Lions in 2013. The Blues will also have a new face in goal after former Chivas USA goalkeeper Patrick McLain joined the side.

Later Friday the Galaxy announced players loaned to the Galaxy II are Rafael Garcia, Bradford Jamieson IV, Jack McBean, Raul Mendiola, Charlie Rugg and Oscar Sorto as well as a trio of other Galaxy players also available for selection Saturday  Kyle Venter, Kofi Opare and Kenney Walker.

Meanwhile, Chivas USA’s Youth Development Academy hosts a SuperClasico tripleheader Saturday against the Galaxy at the Bell Gardens Sports Complex, 8000 Park Lane.

The U13/U14 teams face off at 9:30 a.m., followed by the U17/U18 teams at noon and the U15/16 teams at 2:30 p.m.

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LA Galaxy Become first MLS Club to Operate USL Pro Team

uslprologo

Galaxy2logoThe Galaxy, traditionally a leader among MLS clubs notched another first today, as widely expected, — they have become the first team to own and operate a minor league team in USL Pro, the top tier of the nation’s minor league soccer pyramid.

LA Galaxy II, as the club will be known, will field the club’s reserve team, which will be coached by Curt Onalfo, a move the club is characterizing as a promotion for the assistant Galaxy coach.

“The LA Galaxy are taking a monumental step for player development in North America,” said Galaxy President Chris Klein. “The creation of LA Galaxy II, through USL PRO, provides the Galaxy with a fully realized player development program starting with the Under-12 Academy teams through the LA Galaxy first team. The investment of AEG and the Galaxy in LA Galaxy II allows us to continue to develop the best players in Southern California and lessen the gap between the Academy and the LA Galaxy.”

The club will play all its 14 home games at StubHub Center; the 28-game season schedule is set for release next week. Admission is free to season ticket holders. Single game tickets go on sale Feb. 18; $72 season tickets are also available.

As usual, playing personnel include a mix of first-teamers, academy players and others.

“LA Galaxy II gives our young players, both in the academy and on the first team, additional playing time and opportunities to grow as players,” said Technical Director Jovan Kirovski. “We see this as a pioneering effort in player development in North America and something that will advance our club on the field and in the community.”

USL Pro affiliates will replace the MLS reserve league. MLS teams will either field a second team in USL Pro or affiliate with an existing USL Pro franchise by 2015. Ten USL Pro teams have already entered into MLS affiliation agreements.

The addition of LA Galaxy II creates a 14-team league for USL Pro in 2014.

Updated

The USL Pro season schedule was released. Here’s the Galaxy II’s season schedule.

Every game this season for the entire league will be televised free on YouTube.

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Thursday Kicks: Galaxy’s Stephens, Chivas USA’s Villafaa still in Olympics mix & more

*Galaxy midfielder Michael Stephens and Chivas USA utility man Jorge Villafaa were both named today to a 10-day training camp in Frisco, Tex., involving 23 players that begins Sunday.

Senior squad regulars Dallas’ Brek Shea and New York Red Bull Juan Aguedelo are among five newcomers to the roster.

The camp and a Feb. 23 game against their U-23 Mexican counterparts marks the final chance for players to impress Coach Caleb Porter ahead of Olympic qualifying, which begins March 22.

“I think Mexico is going to be about as close to a qualifying atmosphere as we can possibly get,” Porter said. “We’re going to have, for the most part, our entire group together for the first time.”

The roster:

Goalkeepers – Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire)

Defenders – Greg Garza (Club Tijuana), Perry Kitchen (D.C. United), Alfredo Morales (Hertha Berlin), Ike Opara (San Jose Earthquakes), Kofi Sarkodie (Houston Dynamo), Zarek Valentin (Montreal Impact), Jorge Villafaa (Chivas USA)

Midfielders – Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Mix Diskerud (Gent), Dilly Duka (Columbus Crew), Jared Jeffrey (Mainz), Amobi Okugo (Philadelphia Union), Michael Stephens (LA Galaxy)

Forwards – Freddy Adu (Philadelphia Union), Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls), Terrence Boyd (Borussia Dortmund), Teal Bunbury (Sporting Kansas City), Joe Gyau (Hoffenheim), Jack McInerney (Philadelphia Union), Brek Shea (FC Dallas), Tony Taylor (Estoril Praia)

*The Galaxy beat Chivas USA 3-2 this morning in Carson. Pat Noonan, Adam Cristman and Dan Keat scored for the Galaxy as LA sprinted to a 3-0 lead at the half; Trialist Cesar Romero and Michael Lahoud replied for the Goats in the second 45 minutes.

*Single game Galaxy tickets went on sale today for the club’s 17 home MLS games starting at $30. Call 1-877-3GALAXY.

However, tickets for mini-plans, for as few as three games, start at $22 a game.

The Galaxy went undefeated at Home Depot Center last season.

*Landon Donovan was named Everton’s Player of the Month after assisting on five of Everton’s eight goals in January, and added another lovely dish against Chelsea last weekend. Donovan returns toi the Galaxy after Saturday’s fifth-round FA Cup match against Blackpool (live 6:30 a.m. Fox Soccer).

*The Premier Development League, which includes five teams in Southern California, released its 2012 season schedule today.

The season begins April 22 when the newly-named LA Misioneros (formerly LA Legends) visits the Fresno Fuego.

*Loyola Marymount University announced today its 11-member 2012 recruiting class, highlighted locally by Bay League Player of the Year Michael Meissner of Palos Verdes High.

“Michael is a very versatile and talented attacking player,” said Coach Paul Krumpe. “He is one of the top players in the South Bay, which is an area that has produced some of our best players. I expect him to be able to contribute in our midfield in a variety of positions.”

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Tuesday Kicks: Sarvas, Gomez & Xolos

*The Galaxy have formally announced the signing of Brazilian midfielder Marcelo Sarvas from Costa Rican club Alajuelense, the day after Coach Bruce Arena told reporters about the acquisition during a conference call.

Sarvas, 30, received his work visa today, although judging by his career path so far fans shouldn’t get too attached to him, apparently. From the Galaxy press release:

Sarvas is capable of playing in the center of midfield or on either wing. A product of the successful Corinthians youth system in Brazil, Sarvas appeared in 15 games in all competitions last season for Alajuelense, playing in nine league games during the Invierno and all six of his club’s CONCACAF Champions League matches, including both games against the Galaxy.

After beginning his career in his native Brazil, Sarvas went to Europe in 2004 at the age of 23, signing with Karlskrona AIF of the Swedish Sodra Gotaland. A year later he moved to fellow Swedish club Mjallby AIF and then to IF Limhamm Brunkeflo. Ahead of the start of the 2009/10 European season, Sarvas was on the move again, joining KSP Warszawa in Poland. After one and a half seasons in Poland in which he scored two league goals, Sarvas moved to Costa Rica, signing with Alajuelense on Jan. 17, 2011.

In one year with the Costa Rican champions, Sarvas helped lead Alajuelense to the 2011 Verano title and a berth in the 2011 Invierno championship. He appeared in 21 of the club’s 30 league games in that time, scoring three times, including twice during the recent Invierno.

*Another player who has had a nomadic career is Los Angeles native Herculez Gomez, so it should be no surprise the former Galaxy player is on the move again, especially since he asked fans for input on his possible destination on his Facebook page recently:

MEXICO CITY (AP) — American forward Herculez Gomez has signed with Santos Laguna, his fourth club in the Mexican League.

Club president Alejandro Irarragorri said Monday that Gomez, who played for the United States in last year’s World Cup, will join the northern Mexican team for the upcoming Clausura season.

Gomez scored seven goals in the Apertura season for Estudiantes Tecos of Guadalajara. He previously played for Puebla and Pachuca after spending time with the Galaxy, Colorado Rapids and Kansas City in MLS.

Santos Laguna reached the final of the Mexican Apertura playoff, losing 3-1 to UANL Tigres on Sunday for a 4-1 aggregate defeat in the two-leg series.

*Finally, Mexican futbol fans have a chance to see a top tier team for free Wednesday in Ventura County – but the time isn’t convenient for many fans.

The Ventura County Fusion PDL team will play an exhibition match against Club Tijuana at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Oxnard College Stadium, 4000 S. Rose Ave., Oxnard.

Admission is free.

This is the Fusion’s second international exhibition match within a week. Last Friday they beat Chivas Guadalajara’s U-20 team, 3-0.

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Monday Kicks: Japan’s World Cup Legacy & more

*Soccer in insignificant compared to the misery inflicted by earthquakes and other natural disasters. But the power of sport is its ability to inspire, uplift and unite as the Japanese well know in the wake of their magnificent World Cup win. I’ll have more on the tournament in Tuesday’s column.

*How much did this tournament capture the public’s imagination? ESPN earned a massive 8.6 overnight rating for the game, its highest ever for any World Cup game, men or women’s, according to Sports Business Daily. To put that in perspective, the network’s previous overnight high was for last years U.S.-Algeria game – which came in at 4.4.

*Relive the World Cup final in Long Beach in pictures.

*Check out the beach soccer tournament in Long Beach last weekend in this picture gallery.

*West Bromwich Albion may not be an EPL power, but they are still a different class as the minor league Ventura County Fusion learned Sunday in Oxnard.

*Manhattan Beach-based Doxa Italia just missed out on the national amateur title this past weekend.

Updated

*MLS this morning confirmed the game day roster for the All-Star Game.

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Friday Kicks: Moody Frenchmen & more

i-00c0ef38b74c59cb588027e1925d2cd7-anelka.jpgMLS Bound? Would you like to see Nicolas Anelka suit up for the Galaxy? See story below (AP Photo).

*The massive, renewed interest in the U.S. Women’s National team has prompted ESPN Radio to air Sunday’s World Cup final between the U.S. and Japan.

It’s the first time ESPN Radio has ever aired a Women’s World Cup game. Coverage begins at 11:30 a.m. with analyst Tommy Smyth.

ESPN radio is at 710 AM in Los Angeles.

A total of 3.35 million viewers watched the U.S.-France semifinal making it the most-viewed weekday Women’s World Cup match in the U.S. and the the fourth most-viewed Women’s World Cup game ever.

*The Galaxy have apparently sold out of the lowest-priced $40 tickets for Saturday’s game against Real Madrid at the Coliseum. Tickets priced at $50 are still available.

If you go, go early!

*Meanwhile, Chivas USA host the Red Bulls the same night in Carson, but it sounds like moody Frenchman Thierry Henry is getting a little testy with the American media (and he doesn’t tolerate turf fields either).

*Your transfer rumor of the week has Chelsea’s moody Frenchman Nicolas Anelka heading to the Galaxy or Red Bulls – but only on a free transfer.

*Former Chivas USA technical director Dennis te Kloese is busy recruiting Southern California youngsters and other Americans for Mexican club Tigres.

*The USL PRO Los Angeles Blues make their Fox Soccer Channel debut tonight with their game against Dayton airing live at 8 o’clock.

*Finally, want to win tickets to the Galaxy-Columbus Crew on Wednesday at Home Depot Center? Then donate blood to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (July apparently is a notoriously slow month for donations). The hospital is giving away two free tickets to the game daily in a raffle blood donors are eligible to enter through Tuesday.

Call 323-361-2441 or e-mail andradejac@chla.usc.edu to schedule an appointment.

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