[AMERICANS ABROAD] Forward Paul Arriola, who starred in the LA Galaxy Academy program and spent the spring with the MLS
club's first team, will forgo plans to attend UCLA in the fall to sign with Club Tijuana. The U.S. U-18 international is the sixth American to sign with the Mexican club and the third Galaxy academy
player to go abroad in the last year.
Arriola played for the Galaxy's U/17-18s last weekend, scoring his fifth goal of the season in a 6-1 win over San Diego Surf. He played for the USA at the 2011 U-17 World Cup in Mexico, starting three matches. He previously played for his hometown Chula Vista Rangers and Arsenal FC.
He had trained with Tijuana this winter and began the process of obtaining Mexican citizen through his grandfather.
Former U.S. U-17 teammates Alejandro Guido and Steve Rodriguez are at Tijuana. Edgar Castillo, Joe Corona and Greg Garza play for the first team, while Guido made the bench for the Xolos' Liga MX game last weekend.
Two U.S. U-20 World Cup candidates -- starting forward Mario Rodriguez at German second division club Kaiserslautern and central defender Jeffrey Payeras at Guatemalan club Municipal -- also left the Galaxy academy for foreign clubs.
Galaxy technical director Jovan Kirovski is not happy with the exodus of players, telling Adam Serrano of LA Galaxy Insider:
"He came through our youth academy and our program, we offered him a contract, but he obviously felt that it was better, he got more money or a better team and went on to Tijuana. That's the gap that we have in our system now where we have a lot of these players that are coming through our academy, we can't secure them and anybody outside of MLS or outside the country can sweep them up and take them. That's something that we really have to look into. We spend a lot of resources and a lot time in developing these players and that's one thing that we as a league need to look into and see how we can fix that. That will be even more of a problem going down the road from here as our academy gets better and our players get better."