LA Galaxy Become first MLS Club to Operate USL Pro Team


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.


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.


*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 to schedule an appointment.

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Southern California products lead U.S. to World Cup final & more

i-e2fd06a70f434a04c25cdd7a524c076d-Abbyfrance.jpgWinning Wambach: Another Abby Wambach header, another U.S. win. I believe she missed this attempt, but connected on another header and scored in the 3-1 U.S. win (AP Photo).

*Southern California stars shone brightly this morning at the World Cup with UCLA’s Lauren Cheney getting the first U.S. goal and creating the second from a corner kick for Hermosa Beach resident Abby Wambach, while Diamond Bar’s Alex Morgan added the third in the 3-1 semifinal win over France at the World Cup.

*The Galaxy and Real Madrid held a press conference Tuesday ahead of Saturday’s friendly at the Coliseum.

*The Galaxy face the Sounders tonight in Seattle in the U.S. Open Cup.

*Chivas USA’s next opponent – the New York Red Bulls – were stunned by Chicago last night in the U.S. Open Cup. The Red Bulls and Chivas USA meet Saturday in Carson.

*A rookie goalkeeper scored a stunning goal for the San Jose Earthquakes against England’s West Bromwich Albion, which plays Sunday in Ventura against the PDL Fusion.

*Club America and Atlas clash tonight at 7:30 at Home Depot Center in Reto Aguila II. Tickets are still available.

*The USL Pro Los Angeles Blues, who have played most of their games in Orange County at Cal State Fullerton, have now edged even further from LA despite their name and will play their three remaining home matches at Norco College’s Mustang Stadium in Riverside County.

From what I’ve heard it’s a money-saving move as the minor league team bleeds red ink.


The U.S. will face Japan in Sunday’s final. It airs at 11 a.m. on ESPN and Galavision.

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Friday Football: Chivas USA in talks to move from Carson & more

*Chivas USA have confirmed for the first time that the club is studying “three or four” options to move elsewhere in Los Angeles County and out of Home Depot Center.

The news doesn’t come as much of a surprise. The only way for an MLS club to turn a profit is to have complete control of all revenue streams at the facility it plays in and right now as a tenant of Anschutz Entertainment Group in Carson that’s not the case for Chivas USA.

Chivas USA’s problems at drawing fans were on full display Wednesday against the San Jose Earthquakes in a game both coaches admitted was pretty terrible to watch at times. Fewer than 10,000 were on hand to watch the mediocre 5-7-6 club and many of them appeared to be kids getting in on discounted tickets offered to AYSO clubs.

Hard-core, dedicated adult Chivas USA fans are very thin on the ground at the HDC these days and a move inland closer to its core Latino fan base would seem likely.

Chivas USA plays Sporting Kansas City at 4:30 p.m. Saturday on Galavision. There is no English-language television coverage of the game.

*The Galaxy, meanwhile, plays the Chicago Fire at 7:30 p.m. at the HDC (live on Fox Soccer Channel). I’m finding it hare to work up much enthusiasm for this game either, frankly.

The Fire have been pretty dreary to watch of late and the Galaxy not much better. The Fire’s 1-1 draw with Chivas USA last Saturday – a ghastly game to watch – meant Chicago equalled the all-time franchise record for draws – a dozen.

The Galaxy aren’t too far off that pace themselves – they have nine ties so far this season – and have four draws in their last five games, including two consecutive goalless stalemates.


One reason to go to the game: The Galaxy will collect new or gently used soccer gear before Saturday’s game at booths set up outside each entrance to the stadium.

Donated jerseys, shorts, shoes, balls and shin guards will be distributed to needy children and organizations.

The first 200 donors get a player card signed by defender Sean Franklin and all donors receive a buy one ticket, get one free voucher for the Galaxy’s July 20 game against the Columbus Crew.

*Good thing there are actually some games worth watching on TV this weekend.

At 8:30 a.m. Saturday on ESPN England meets France in the first of the Women’s World Cup quarterfinals, followed at 11:15 a.m. by Germany-Japan, while on Sunday at 8 a.m. it’s U.S.-Brazil.

If the Americans lose it will be the worst U.S. showing at a Women’s World Cup ever.

Oh, the truly fanatical can find the other quarterfinal, Sweden-Australia, at 3:30 a.m. Sunday on ESPN.

Prefer Copa America? At 11:30 a.m. Saturday it’s Brazil-Paraguay on KMEX.

And at 12:45 a.m. Sunday on ESPNU, the Brazilian and German stars of the future are on display at the U-17 World Cup third place game; the final between Mexico and Uruguay follows at 3:30 p.m. on the same channel.

*Lastly, the PDL Ventura County Fusion has announced it will host Argentina’s Independiente at 6 p.m. Friday July 22. Tickets are on sale to see the 14-time Argentine champions for $15 adults, $8 children.

Details here.


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Wednesday Kicks: Galaxy discover U.S. Open Cup opponent & more

*The Galaxy will meet new USL pro franchise the LA Blues in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup next week after the team disposed Tuesday of lower level opponent the Ventura County Fusion. The Fusion weren’t helped by the fact their captain Andy Rose is on trial with the Chicago Fire and missed the game.

The Galaxy face the Blues Tuesday at Titan Stadium in Fullerton where the MLS outfit often plays games of this ilk fielding largely reserve squads; somewhat confusingly the stadium is where the Blues plays most of their home games, but the game is apparently a “home” affair for the Galaxy.

Plenty of MLS connections for the Blues, of course, where former Galaxy youngster Izzy Sesay will be among those motivated to prove the club wrong for releasing him.

Incidentally, here’s the full bracket for the competition.

Updated 2:30 p.m.

The Galaxy have just announced that tickets to the game have gone on sale starting at $10. Call 1-877-3GALAXY (342-5299)

*Before the Galaxy (9-2-7) meets the Blues it will face the Earthquakes (5-5-4) in San Jose Saturday where fewer than 500 tickets remained Tuesday afternoon for the game at 10,000-capacity Buckshaw Stadium, presumably on the assumption David Beckham will show up for the occasion.

The Earthquakes beat the Galaxy 1-0 in the corresponding fixture last year, scoring sensation Chris Wondolowski getting the winner with one of his league-leading 18 goals on the season.

The game will be shown at 8 p.m. on Fox Soccer Channel.

*With the Gold Cup final scheduled to be played in Pasadena Saturday (scroll down for a preview of today’s semifinals), Chivas USA (4-6-5) are similarly on the road Saturday, facing former Galaxy striker Carlos Ruiz and the Philadelphia Union (6-4-4) at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at PPL Park (live on Prime).

Chivas USA are without forward Alejandro Moreno, away for several weeks on Copa Amrica duty with Venezuela, for a game they fell 3-0 in last year. Concussion victim Jimmy Conrad also remains out for the Goats.

Before the Union meets Chivas USA, however, they will play tonight against Sporting Kansas City.

*The California-heavy U.S. U-17 team plays Uzbekistan at 1 p.m. today in the second game of its World Cup campaign after beating the Czech Republic Sunday.

*Finally, local colleges are releasing their fall schedules thick and fast with the latest to do so being the Cal State Northridge men on Tuesday.

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MLS in Vegas & more

*For most Southern Californians, Las Vegas is the road trip so local soccer fans would undoubtedly welcome an MLS team there. Turns out, so would MLS Commish Don Garber. Party on.

*United Soccer Leagues released a revised schedule for the LA Blues and USL pro in the wake of the early-season demise of three Puerto Rican clubs.

*Did anyone take note that the U.S. women beat Japan over the weekend?

*It’s the Galaxy-Chivas USA derby this weekend (7 p.m. Saturday ESPN2), a game set up perfectly by the two clubs’ excellent results this weekend (scroll down for video highlights and details). I’ll have more on the game in Tuesday’s column.

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