Wednesday Kicks: Cosmos come to LA & more

The newly-revitalized New York Cosmos announced today they are taking over the Pasadena-based Los Angeles Football Club – known as LAFC Chelsea – moving it to Pomona and opening a West Coast youth academy.

“Chelsea and adidas have been good to us, however they are no longer associated with LAFC,” said Cosmos Academy West Director Teddy Chronopoulos, a former player with the New England Revolution. “Under the new partnership with The New York Cosmos, the Academy will now be outfitted by Umbro.”

The Cosmos also announced today that Giovanni Savarese, the former New York MetroStars striker, will become director of Cosmos Academy (East).

From the Cosmos press release:

LAFC, based out of Pasadena, is one of the nation’s most esteemed and competitive youth soccer organizations will now be called Cosmos Academy (West), based out of Pomona. The Academy will field teams from U9-U18 (boys) and participate in major leagues and tournaments throughout California, in addition to the U.S. Soccer Development Academy. LAFC has received widespread recognition in the sport, most recently being ranked the No. 1 youth club in California, and No. 6 across the country by Soccer America.

As part of the agreement, Cosmos Academy (East) and Cosmos Academy (West) will now be funded by The New York Cosmos, whereby costs normally incurred by the families of these elite players will now be fully covered – such as registration fees, uniforms, coaches’ salaries along with the cost of participating in select tournaments and its related travel. In addition, the respective club teams under LAFC and BWG will now be called LAFC Cosmos and BWG Cosmos.

With a focus on youth development, The New York Cosmos is investing significantly to provide young talented players with elite coaching programs, facilities and training opportunities to help them realize their dreams. All of this is part of The New York Cosmos’ fundamental preparation and underpinning needed to field an MLS franchise team in New York in the near future.

“Our priority is the long-term development of players who will one day represent The New York Cosmos at the highest possible professional levels in soccer,” says Terry Byrne, Director of Soccer, The New York Cosmos. “Developing that talent, with the Academies and coaches that we now have on both coasts, will give us an outstanding platform for the future of The New York Cosmos as well as U.S. Soccer.”

The involvement of Byrne, a close friend of David Beckham who negotiated his MLS contract, has spurred speculation the sometime Galaxy midfielder could become involved in the Cosmos, if it becomes an MLS expansion team.

The league wants a second New York team and Beckham has indicated his interest in one day owning an MLS club.

In other news today:

*Chivas USA announced they have signed youth player Bryan de la Fuente of Bell to a professional contract.

The U.S. Under-18 international becomes the fourth former Chivas USA youth player on the club’s first team roster. Also making the grade were Carlos Borja (Anaheim), Jorge Flores (Anaheim), Cesar Zamora (Sylmar) and Gerson Mayn (Los Angeles). Mayen is currently on loan with Miami FC.

“Bryan has been with the youth program for the last three years, and he’s also been consistently with the U.S. U-20’s playing for Thomas Rongen,” said Coach Martn Vsquez. “We need to look at our youth program before we bring someone from outside. He’s a player for the future of this team, but we’re going to give him an opportunity, and help him develop in the short-term.”

From the Chivas USA press release:

The versatile midfielder played in the Guadalajara youth system from 2005-2007 before moving to Bell, Calif., where he joined the Chivas USA Under-16 team coached by Miguel Ramos and Samuel Rivas. Moving up to the Chivas USA U-18’s under coaches Sacha van der Most and Jos ‘Cuco’ Mancilla, de la Fuente played in the Copa Chivas in Guadalajara and the Copa Saprissa in Costa Rica, two of the most prestigious youth tournaments in the region. This year, de la Fuente has played for the United States U-20 National Team under head coach Thomas Rongen at the Dallas Cup and in the Milk Cup in Ireland, which the team won.

Incidentally, the club will hold tryouts at 4 p.m. Thursday for players born between 1997 and 2003 (U-7 to U-13) for its Bell Gardens youth academy. Cost is $20. E-mail for more information.

*Lastly, a preview of the Harbor College men’s team is here.

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